Google today released Chrome 70, the latest version of its browser. The most anticipated addition in today’s release is a new Chrome Control Panel option that allows users to control browser behavior when signing into a Google Account.
Google added this new setting after the company was accused last month of secretly signing users into their Chrome browser accounts every time they signed into a Google website.
Many users misinterpreted this decision as Google secretly synced their browsing history behind their backs. Google has denied syncing user data without their specific consent, but the company has come under heavy criticism from the media and its user base.
The new setting added in Chrome 70 is called “Allow Chrome Sign In” and is enabled by default. If users leave this option enabled, Chrome 70 will behave like Chrome 69, and every time a user signs in to Gmail or YouTube, they will also be signed in to Chrome’s sync account at the same time.
Users can turn off this setting and Chrome will behave as before Chrome version 69 which irritated most of the users. In this case, they will be able to sign in to a Google website without being automatically signed in to their Chrome Sync account.
In addition, Google has also launched a new user interface to display the “sync status” of a Chrome Sync account. The change was also made after criticism last month when users said it was difficult to tell when Google was actively syncing or not syncing their data.
Depending on the new user interface, users will see “No syncing” or “Syncing with” written above their account name, allowing them to easily determine whether their browsing data is being sent to Google’s servers.
But those two features were added as a last-minute fix to quell a media scandal last month, and aren’t the only things added in Chrome 70. Google engineers have been working for months on other, more legitimate improvements. and eagerly awaited. Chrome 70 includes a host of other features.
For example, Chrome now ships with the final version of TLS 1.3. Chrome has supported early versions of TLS 1.3 for years, but the browser now supports the final version of the standard, which was approved by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) earlier this year, in March. .
Chrome 70 also includes two updates to the Web Authentication API, which will now allow developers to support authentication through macOS TouchID and Android fingerprint sensor.
Web Bluetooth, an API that allows websites to communicate via GATT with nearby user-selected Bluetooth devices, is now also available for Chrome on Windows 10. Web Bluetooth support was first shipped with Chrome 56, last year, but only for Android, ChromeOS, and macOS.
Google has also changed the way Chrome handles AppCache, an older local storage system for website / app data. Starting with Chrome 70, websites will not be able to set or retrieve AppCache data unless they do so over HTTPS, in a secure context.
Another big change in how Chrome works is a recent change made to prevent websites from trapping users in full screen mode. Starting with Chrome 70, when a website displays a dialog box / pop-up window, Chrome exits full screen. This will help in situations where novice or non-technical users can access a dialog / pop-up displayed behind full screen and in doing so prevent exiting full screen mode as well.
Chrome 70 is also the first browser version to support the new AV1 video codec.
In addition, Google is also running an experiment for the shape detection API. This API gives Chrome the ability to detect and identify faces, barcodes, and text in images or webcam feeds.
Google claims that the shape detection API can perform the computational heavy-duty operations necessary for such tasks without adversely affecting browser performance. Users and developers can sign up for a trial here.
As for extensions, starting with Chrome 70, Google is giving users the ability to grant permissions to extensions by site, as a security measure. This way, users can restrict privacy-invasive permissions to one or two sites and not grant them access to all user data.
In addition, Chrome 70 will also be able to restrict extensions to one user click, which means that the extension will not run on a page until the user clicks a button or option in the Chrome menu. This feature was announced two weeks ago as part of a larger set of security enhancements for the Chrome Web Store ecosystem.
There are also a large number of changes to the web APIs and underlying CSS functionality of Chrome. Details on the developer-centric changes can be found in this Chromium blog post.
With today’s release, Chrome’s new version number is 70.0.3538.67. The full changelog is available here (slow loading link).
The only thing missing from today’s release – or better yet, still present – is support for Symantec SSL certificates. Chrome 70 was the version Chrome was supposed to be suspicious of Symantec certificates in, but they validated perfectly when ZDNet tried to access sites that used them.