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  1. If you use the multimedia keys on your computer keyboard to control playback in apps such as Spotify or iTunes, you may notice that functionality stopped with the release of Chrome 74. Google introduced support for keyboard multimedia keys in Chrome 73; Chrome users may use the functionality to control playback on YouTube and other sites that make use of the Media Session API. On YouTube, you can pause, start and stop playback, change the volume, mute, or jump forward or backward using media keys. The release of Chrome 74 may block other sites from working correctly with multimedia keys. The change affects "other" processes that may make use of media keys; if you run Spotify or iTunes on the desktop, or another other media application that supports multimedia keys, you may notice that the keys don't function properly anymore if Chrome is running. It appears that Chrome is blocking other apps from using media keys. One solution for the issue is to close Chrome completely whenever you want to use an application that supports media keys. It is not the most practicable of solutions as it is not very comfortable and limits how you use the computer as you cannot use Chrome and any of these applications side by side anymore. Disabling Chrome's Multimedia Key handling Google Chrome comes with a flag currently that controls the browser's hardware media key handling. Flags are experimental features that let you control certain features in Chrome. Google may remove flags at any time. You may disable the Hardware Media Key Handling flag in Chrome currently to prevent Google Chrome from restricting media keys access. Here is how that is done: Load chrome://flags/#hardware-media-key-handling in the Chrome address bar; this should open the right flag when loaded. Set the Hardware Media Key Handling flag to Disabled. Restart Google Chrome. Change the status of the flag to Default or Enabled if you want to restore the default. Note that Chrome won't accept media key input anymore if you set the status to disabled. Google plans to release Chrome 74 Stable on April 23, 2019. Source: Fix Chrome blocking keyboard multimedia keys from working (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  2. NoScript extension officially released for Google Chrome After more a decade, NoScript is finally available for Chrome users. Starting today, the NoScript Firefox extension, a popular tool for privacy-focused users, is also available for Google Chrome, Giorgio Maone, NoScript's author, has told ZDNet. The NoScript Chrome port, on which Maone has worked for months, is now available from the official Chrome Web Store, via this link. USERS HAVE BEEN ASKING FOR A CHROME PORT FOR YEARS NoScript's availability for Google Chrome will make many people happy. The extension has a mythical status among privacy-minded users, who have dogged Maone for a Chrome version for years. The original Firefox add-on was launched on May 13, 2015, to rave reviews. At the time, it was introducing a novel concept that a browser add-on could intercept and block the loading or execution of dangerous or unwanted JavaScript code. The extension gathered a huge following across the years, and because of its unique features, it has also been selected as one of the very few add-ons that come built into default installations of the Tor Browser. It is also one of the most-used and must-use extensions in the arsenal of security researchers that visit sites with malicious code, as the extension can prevent the execution of some exploits. It's for these reasons that users have been asking Maone for a Chrome port for years. NOSCRIPT FOR CHROME FACED SOME DEVELOPMENT HURDLES Work on the Chrome version started last year after the original NoScript for Firefox version was ported from the old Firefox XUL API to the more modern WebExtensions API, which is compatible with both Firefox and Chromium extensions systems. Everything almost fell apart in January this year, when Chrome engineers were planning to roll out a set of features that would have killed not only NoScript's ability to do its job, but also ad blockers and other similar extensions that needed to interact with JavaScript resources. Google backtracked on some of its proposed changes following a huge backlash from both users and extensions developers, and today we have the first version of NoScript for Chrome. Nonetheless, Maone still fears that some of Google's planned changes, even in their current form, will still eventually impact NoScript in the long-run. "I and other worried developers are [still] lobbying Google to rethink this plan," Maone told ZDNet today. "Some concessions have already been done, but I'm also studying alternative approaches for the worst case scenarios." But in spite of some looming problems, the Chrome port is almost identical with the Firefox (Tor Browser) version, in terms of blocking/whitelisting abilities, and settings section. NOSCRIPT'S XSS PROTECTION NOT AVAILABLE IN CHROME VERSION "Talking about differences across supported browsers, the code base is now is exactly the same," Maone told ZDNet. "But on Chromium, I had to disable, at least for the time being, NoScript's XSS filter." Below is an image of NoScript's XSS filter showing an alert in the Tor Browser, a feature not available in the Chrome version, according to Maone. "Chromium users will have to rely on the browser's built-in 'XSS Auditor,' which over time proved not to be as effective as NoScript's 'Injection Checker'," Maone told us. "But the latter could not be ported in a sane way yet, because it requires asynchronous processing of web requests: a feature provided by Firefox only. "To be honest, when Firefox switched to the WebExtensions API, which was largely inspired by Chrome, Mozilla made me contribute to its design and implementation in order to ensure that it supported NoScript's use cases as much as possible," Maone said. "Regrettably, the additions and enhancements which resulted from this work have not been picked up by Google." A STABLE RELEASE EXPECTED IN JUNE Currently, NoScript for Firefox has over 1.5 million users, and the expectation is that the Chrome version will pick up even a bigger following due to Chrome's larger userbase. "I'm very satisfied of this first public Chromium-compatible NoScript's beta (10.6.x). I plan to bless NoScript 11 as a 'stable release for Chrome' by the end of June," Maone told ZDNet. "I feel the urge to thank the awesome folks at the Open Technology Fund for the huge support they gave to this project, and before that to NoScript's WebExtension migration," Maone added. "And I'm excited that under the same umbrella Simply Secure will start working next week on improving NoScript's usability and accessibility." Source
  3. Microsoft Confirms Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge for Windows 10 ARM One of the benefits of Microsoft’s transition to Chromium is that Google itself has become more interested in bringing its apps and services to Windows 10. And Windows 10 ARM as a platform is likely to get several improvements only thanks to this, as Microsoft worked together with Google engineers to prepare the Chromium engine for ARM-based devices. Earlier this week, developers managed to get Google Chrome up and running on Windows 10 ARM, which in turn made it possible to install the browser on Windows phones powered by this OS version too. With Edge preview finally becoming available for download, Microsoft confirms that Chromium on Windows 10 ARM is something the company has been working on and further announcements on this should follow later this year. “We’ve been collaborating with Google engineers to enable Chromium to run natively on Windows on ARM devices starting with Chromium 73. With these contributions, Chromium-based browsers will soon be able to ship native implementations for ARM-based Windows 10 PCs, significantly improving their performance and battery life,” the Microsoft Edge team announced.Touch support in ChromiumAdditionally, Microsoft says it was focused specifically on optimizing the browser for Windows 10 devices, and adding touch support was a priority given this input method is a key part of the experience with the operating system. “To help our customers with touch devices get the best possible experience, we’ve implemented better support for Windows touch keyboard in Chromium, now supporting touch text suggestions as you type and “shape writing” that lets you type by swiping over keys without releasing your finger,” it says. There is no ETA available right now as to when Chromium browsers would land on Windows 10 ARM, but both Google and Microsoft could be working on such versions of their browsers. Most likely, additional details would be shared at the Build developer conference next month. Source
  4. After Chrome, Firefox will also support off-screen image lazy loading Built-in support for image lazy loading coming to Firefox. Google already testing feature in Chrome Image: Mozilla Mozilla engineers plan to add support for "lazy loading," a mechanism to defer the loading of images if they are not visible on the user's screen when a website is first loaded. Work on adding this feature in Firefox started last month. Google has already been testing a lazy loading mechanism in Chrome for over a year, since January 2018. HOW LAZY LOADING WORKS Lazy loading has been a part of the web development scene for more than a decade. It was initially created as a concept for JavaScript libraries. Developers figured out that by delaying the loading of non-visible images, they could significantly improve a website's page load time, a crucial search engine optimization (SEO) criteria, and, hence, obtain a better position in Google search results. The concept spread quickly, and by the early 2010s, there were hundreds of libraries and plugins that provided easy ways to implement a lazy loading mechanism on websites, regardless of underlying programming language or content management system (CMS). GOOGLE WANTED TO SUPPORT LAZY LOADING AT THE BROWSER LEVEL The first step to moving lazy loading from the website level to the browser level was taken in January 2018, when Google published a design document outlining how Chrome would support the lazy-loading of images and iframes that are outside a page's visible section. Chrome flags were later implemented, which are currently available in the Chrome stable version, and which users can enable and have websites load faster. With Google's backing, the feature also became attractive to other browsers, whose developers realized the benefits it could bring to improving page load times, if enabled. Over the past year, Safari engineers have, too, expressed interest in supporting lazy loading. With Firefox putting its backing behind the feature as well, this means that all major browser rendering engines will soon support lazy loading -- WebKit (Safari), Blink (all Chromium browsers), and Gecko (Firefox). We excluded EdgeHTML, as Microsoft Edge will soon move to a Chromium codebase. Source
  5. Google Chrome on Windows Phones Is a Real Thing Now Microsoft giving up on EdgeHTML and migrating to Chromium produces a series of benefits, including Google itself being more willing to support Windows as a platform. For example, one of the projects that could see daylight as a result of Microsoft’s commitment to Chromium is a Windows 10 ARM version of Google Chrome browser. And by the looks of things, this is already a work in progress, and a software developer managed to get the browser up and running on Windows 10 on ARM. Jeremy Sinclair explains in a tweet that it’s actually possible to build Google Chrome for Windows 10 ARM, even though not all features are currently working exactly as expected, as it’s the case of the emoji window in Windows 10. “BEHOLD! Successful Chromium build completed and is running on Windows ARM64 \o/! It was SUPER fast opening, also,” he tweeted. Such an achievement brings in its turn several other benefits, such as the possibility of running Google Chrome on other Windows 10 on ARM devices. Included Windows phones, that is.Chrome on Windows phones, a dream that finally comes trueNot a long time ago, the developer community managed to install Windows 10 ARM on Windows phones, like the Lumia 950 XL, so thanks to this new project, Google Chrome should be running on these smartphones as well. “A windows phone running chrome natively, rare endangered species in an unnatural habitat,” software developer Gustave Monce tweetedduring the weekend. As I said on several occasions, while it’s nice to see software like Windows 10 on ARM or Google Chrome running on Windows phones, Microsoft’s smartphone platform is dead anyway. The company will stop providing updates in December this year, so no further security improvements would be released. Additionally, Microsoft itself recommends users to switch to Android and iOS to enjoy the full benefits of its apps. Source
  6. Use Google Chrome as a Media Player on Windows 10 Google Chrome is currently the number one browser on the desktop and mobile, and the latest updates bring more improvements that further enhance the experience when browsing the web. But at the same time, there are features in Google Chrome that allow the app to step beyond the typical web browsing purpose and actually help users perform tasks that they didn’t normally expect in such an app. One of them is playing video files that are stored locally and which typically requires a multimedia player installed on the device. Technically, with Google Chrome you can not only play videos stored on the local drives, but also watch them using the built-in Picture-in-Picture mode that makes it possible to keep the video playing while doing something else on the screen. The PiP mode is already available in Google Chrome and in a series of other browsers, and it will also be part of the upcoming Chromium-based Microsoft Edge. Obviously, since it’s not a fully-featured file manager or multimedia player, watching locally-stored video files in Google Chrome isn’t necessarily a straightforward thing to do, albeit it’s still possible with a few clicks. As per TechDows, you first need to know the full path to your file and only then open it in Google Chrome. First and foremost, just make sure that you’re running one of the latest Google Chrome versions – for Picture-in-Picture Chrome version 70 and newer is required. Then, you need to browse to location where your file is stored. In my tutorial here, I use a file called sample.mp4 and stored in the Downloads library. While you can manually type the full path to the file, it’s much easier to simply copy it with a simple trick. Navigate to its location, then press Shift + right-click on the file > Copy as path. This option only copies the path to the file to the clipboard, so when you paste it, you’ll get the full address. Once the path to the file is copied to clipboard, you need to head over to Google Chrome to open it. Just paste the path in the address bar and remove the quotes at the beginning and the end of the path. Press enter and the video should then be loaded in the browser. At this point, you’re already using Google Chrome as a media player, and you can watch the video just like you’d normally do with a multimedia player. But as I said earlier, there are additional options available in the browser and which you can use to further enhance this video watching experience. And one of them is the said Picture-in-Picture mode. To activate this video mode, simply right-click the video > Picture in Picture ­– if you’ve used this feature before, you probably know that on sites like YouTube, you need to right-click the video twice in a row; however, this isn’t required for videos stored on the local drives because there’s no other context menu that launches on the first click. Once you click Picture in Picture, the video should then start playing in a smaller window placed in the bottom right corner, and you can drag it around the screen, resize it, pause or close it. There are no other extra and unnecessary features, and everything works pretty smoothly all the time. The same trick would work in all Chromium-based browsers, including the upcoming Microsoft Edge, and you can try it out already by downloading the leaked buildavailable here – an official preview version of Microsoft Edge is expected shortly. Source
  7. How to Fix Screen Flickering in Google Chrome on Windows 10 Version 1809 The latest version of Windows 10 and the newest Google Chrome release seem to be an unfortunate mix of software for some users, as the browser is impacted by a super-annoying screen flickering bug that makes it completely unusable. At this point, it looks like the issue is only experienced on Windows 10 version 1809, also known as October 2018 Update, when running Google Chrome version 73. However, I’m seeing reports that other versions of Chrome could be affected too. A thread on the Google Chrome Help forums indicate that a potential solution to this glitch could be disabling hardware acceleration in the browser. However, as many of the users seeing the screen flickering discovered, the hardware acceleration feature doesn’t seem to be in any way connected to the bug. So the problem resides in a different place. A post on the said forums and coming from a Google Platinum Product Expert indicates that the screen flickering may be generated by a compatibility issue with one or two Windows 10 features. This also confirms that the problem is exclusive to Windows 10 and not happening on Linux and macOS. Basically, the post indicates that the flickering is caused by the Windows Slideshow feature or by the automatic color selection in the operating system. “At the moment, I don't know why these two settings cause your screen to flicker in Chrome. Once I know more, I'll let you know,” the post notes. What’s important to keep in mind is that Google hasn’t yet officially acknowledged the bug, but since a fix already exists, there’s a good chance the development team is looking into it and a patch would be released soon. So technically, the workaround is to disable the Windows Slideshow and the automatic color selection in the operating system. Here’s how to do both. First and foremost, you need to head over to the Settings screen. For the slideshow, this is the path that you need to follow: Settings > Personalization > Background If the current setting on your device is Slideshow, you need to click the drop-down menu and choose between Picture and Solid color. Both of them do the job, so choose whatever works for you and see if the screen flickering is gone. If it’s not, you need to disable the automatic color section too. To do this, the Settings app is again the one that you need to use, so launch it and then follow this path: Settings > Personalization > Colors > Choose your color Look for an option that is called Automatically pick an accent color from my background and make sure it’s disabled. Again, check to see if the screen flickering is still there. For the time being, no other workaround seems to exist, so if you really insist on using the aforementioned Windows 10 features, there’s not much to do about it. Google Chrome is currently the world’s number one browser on the desktop, and given that the adoption of Windows 10 also grows every month, there’s a high chance that this issue could hit a large number of users. However, judging from the number of complaints posted online, it’s not yet a widespread bug, though it goes without saying that Google should resolve it as soon as possible. The next Google Chrome stable release is version 75, and it is projected to launch on all supported platforms on April 18. It remains to be seen, however, if a fix for this bug would be included in this update. Source
  8. Three Reasons Chromium Microsoft Edge Can Be Bigger than Google Chrome Despite being the world’s number one desktop browser for a long time, Internet Explorer has never been everyone’s favorite browser, and the massive improvements that Google and Mozilla released for Chrome and Firefox provided users with alternatives that many embraced. Microsoft introduced Edge browser with much fanfare in Windows 10, promising a truly powerful rival to the likes of Chrome and Firefox. Eventually, Edge turned out to be just another failed experiment, and despite the more or less significant improvements released as part of new Windows 10 feature updates, the new browser eventually failed to make any difference. So in late 2018, Microsoft announced another major change in this regard, as it decided to migrate Microsoft Edge from the EdgeHTML engine to Chromium. This is the same engine that powers Google Chrome and a series of other browsers like Vivaldi. At first glance, switching to Chromium is seen by many as living proof that Microsoft can’t succeed in the browser market on its own. But after trying out the unofficial preview build of Edge browser, it becomes more obvious that Microsoft Edge can finally become a leading browser on both the desktop and mobile. All Google Chrome featuresFirst and foremost, because it’s based on Chromium, Microsoft Edge technically has all the features of Google Chrome, and Microsoft can give its own touches to each update to specifically tailor it to match its own user base. In other words, Microsoft Edge would no longer lag behind rivals when it comes to features, and long-time Windows users certainly know how important this is. Google Chrome is currently the leading browser worldwide, and there’s a good reason for this. The feature lineup plays a key role in the overall feature package, and now Microsoft Edge can score big in this regard as well.Finally available cross-platformThe Chromium engine also allows Microsoft to release Edge on more platforms than just Windows 10. This means the company can significantly increase the number of users running its browser, as Edge would offer support for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7, but also for macOS and Linux. Windows 10 and Windows 7 are currently the world’s most popular desktop operating systems, and despite the latter reaching the end of support in January next year, it’s still a widely-used platform across the world. So there’s no doubt that by making Edge available on Windows 7, Microsoft not only that wins more users, but it can also convince some to upgrade to Windows 10 and enjoy the benefits of native integration. Just like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge is also available on mobile, and Microsoft releases updates for both Android and iOS versions on a regular basis.The world’s largest distribution platformOne of the biggest advantages over Google Chrome is that Microsoft Edge would benefit from the largest distribution platform on the desktop. It’s Windows itself, and Microsoft not only that will offer Edge as the default Windows 10 browser, but it’ll also encourage users running older versions of the OS to replace Internet Explorer (or other browsers) with its new app. Windows 10 has already become the number one desktop operating system after it managed to overtake Windows 7 a few months ago, and the target for Microsoft is to bring it to 1 billion devices worldwide. This means Microsoft Edge would come pre-installed on 1 billion devices, and while not everyone would stick with it, the opportunity to target such a large audience is huge. Microsoft is projected to release the new Edge browser later this year, but a preview build should go live any day now. An unofficial Microsoft Edge version is already up for grabs if you want to try it out. Source
  9. First image surfaces of Google Chrome's upcoming Tab Groups feature Work on Tab Groups is still in its early phases. Feature won't be ready for months. Image: Bret Sepulveda Four months after Google engineers started working on the feature, today we have the first image of Chrome's upcoming Tab Groups UI. The feature was one that was sadly lacking in Chrome, and one that some users will greatly appreciate. As portrayed in the image above and as its name hints, Chrome Tab Groups will let users organize tabs together, in multiple groups, allowing for a much greater level of control for messy Chrome users who work with tens of tabs at a time. To be clear, the feature is still a long way from being finished, and this is just a screenshot released by a Chromium engineer. Current versions of Chrome Canary, Google's testing playground for upcoming Chrome features, don't yet support the new interface. The only Tab Groups-related functionality implemented in Chrome Canary right now is a right-click menu that sometimes loses tracks of tabs and their respective groups. However, most of the Tab Groups development over the past few months has been on creating the codebase on which the UI will work. If Chrome users want to be on the forefront of Tab Groups testing, they'll need to install Chrome Canary, visit the chrome://flags page, and enable the Tab Groups option. Until a stable version of Tab Groups lands in Chrome, users who have a habit of working with more tabs than they can handle will have to rely on third-party extensions currently available on the Chrome Web Store --or use other browsers. Vivaldi, a web browser based on Chromium, the same engine at the heart of Google Chrome, already supports Tab Groups functionality, although in a different manner, using a concept first seen in older Opera versions. Tab stacking feature in Vivaldi Firefox used to have a Tab Groups feature, but Mozilla removed it from its code after telemetry showed that very few users were using it and supporting its codebase became too costly for the Firefox devs. Knowing of Tab Groups' demise in Firefox questions Google's decision to start working on such a feature in the first place, but user feedback has been mostly positive, until now. Source
  10. How to Launch Google Chrome in Incognito Mode by Default Google Chrome continues to be the world’s number one desktop browser, and there’s no doubt it all happens for a good reason. And while even the software giant Microsoft is migrating to Chromium, the engine that powers Google Chrome, there are several features that users hope to get in a future update for the browser. One of them is an option that would make it possible to use Google Chrome in Incognito mode by default, technically launching the browser with this private browsing feature and not leaving any traces behind no matter what. First of all, let’s see what Incognito mode means. When this browsing mode is enabled, Google Chrome doesn’t save browsing history, cookies, site data, and information entered in forms. However, it’s important to know that some data isn’t hidden from websites you visit, and information like the IP address is still collecting. Right now, there’s no option to launch Google Chrome with the Incognito mode enabled by default, and the only way to do this is to first fire up the browser and then manually click the Menu button > New Incognito Window. However, there are two ways to do this, though each comes with its very own setbacks. So stay with me as I detail both. The first method is also the one that’s the easier to use, as all you have to do is to modify the launch parameter to run the browser in the Incognito mode. Basically, you first need to create a shortcut of Google Chrome anywhere you like – for this tutorial, I used the default Google Chrome installation path and created a shortcut on the desktop. Next, you need to right-click the Google Chrome shortcut > Properties. The Target field under Shortcut is the one we’re going to use. By default, it looks like this: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" So what we need to do is to add the -incognito parameter at the end to make it look like this: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" -incognito The next time you launch Chrome using this shortcut, it should run in Incognito mode automatically. The main drawback is that you need to either remove the added parameter or to manually create a new standard browsing window, so I recommend you to create separate shortcuts for each mode. The second method involves editing the run patch of Google Chrome in the Registry Editor. To do this, launch the Registry Editor by typing regedit.exe in the Start menu. Navigate to the following location: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ChromeHTML\Shell\open\command Double-click the Default entry in the Windows Registry Editor, and change it from: "C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" "%1" to: "C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" -incognito "%1" Close the Registry Editor and that’s pretty much it. The next time you launch Google Chrome, the Incognito mode should be enabled by default and no data should be collected. Just like in the case of the first method, you need to manually change the registry key or open a standard browsing window. The biggest setback of both methods is that they enable the Incognito mode when manually launching the browser, but not when clicking on links. For example, if you receive a link in an email and Google Chrome is configured as the default browser, clicking the link launches Chrome in the standard browsing mode. There’s no way to get around this limitation for the time being, as Windows doesn’t allow users to define default apps with special parameters. Unless Google adds such an option in Chrome, the only option is to manually copy each link and paste them in a browsing instance running in Incognito. Source
  11. Google patches ‘evil cursor’ bug in Chrome exploited by tech support scammers A threat group named ‘Partnerstroka’ exploited this bug by replacing the standard mouse cursor (OS 32-by-32 pixels) with 128 or 256 pixels in size. The fix to this ‘evil cursor’ bug is currently live for Google Canary users and is scheduled for the Chrome 75 stable branch soon. Google has patched a bug in Chrome dubbed ‘evil cursor’ that was exploited by the tech support scammers to create an artificial mouse cursor and lock users inside browsers. A security researcher from Malwarebytes, Jerome Segura, who detected this ‘evil cursor’ bug noted that the tech support scammers relied on custom images to replace the system’s standard mouse cursor. The big picture According to Segura, a threat group named ‘Partnerstroka’ exploited this bug by replacing the standard mouse cursor (OS 32-by-32 pixels) with 128 or 256 pixels in size. Even after replacing the standard mouse cursor, it would still appear on the screen, but in the corner of a transparent bounding box. This would trick users into clicking on the area the cursor appears. However, the cursor would click on another area of the screen, preventing users from closing or leaving browser tabs. Why Google took a long time to patch - The security researcher reported this bug to Google last year. However, it took longer for Google to patch this bug. Browsers support custom mouse cursor images for web games, therefore, disabling custom images would impact thousands of gaming sites. Since it is complex to patch the bug without impacting the existing sites, Google developers tested this bug for months and have now come up with a patch. The fix to this bug in Chrome will automatically revert the cursor back to the standard OS graphics when hovering over parts of the Chrome browser interface thereby preventing users from getting locked in browser pages. Worth noting - The fix to this ‘evil cursor’ bug is currently live for Google Canary users and is scheduled for the Chrome 75 stable branch soon. Source
  12. How to Try Out Google Chrome’s New Extensions Menu Google Chrome has the largest collection of browser extensions out there, and this is one of the reasons so many developers decide to build browsers based on Chromium. While the engine itself is obviously very advanced, there’s no doubt that the always-increasing number of extensions makes Chromium a very compelling platform for everyone. And obviously, users are the ones to benefit from the plethora of extensions available for Chromium-based browsers, especially as they further enhance the features of the application themselves. Right now, for example, I have no less than 16 extensions, and I use all of them on a daily basis. Needless to say, some are blocked from being displayed in the toolbar simply because adding more icons here would only make the interface more cluttered and their features can run in the background without any problem. This is actually one key issue for users who install tons of extensions in Google Chrome. The more extensions are installed, the bigger the number of icons showing up in the toolbar, so eventually, using the browser becomes an experience that’s not as straightforward as it was in the beginning. Because the number of extensions is growing at a fast pace and users tend to install more and more in Google Chrome, the search giant is apparently working on a way to resolve this and keep the interface of the browser simple and clean. And it all comes down to an extensions menu that would technically group all browser add-ons and thus make the icons on the toolbar redundant. In other words, this menu would come with its very own icon in the toolbar, and clicking it reveals the available extensions, so you no longer need separate icons for each of them. Or at least, not for all. While there are browsers that already feature such an option, Google Chrome is only now getting it, and by the looks of things, the search giant plans to include it in a future update for the browser. The good news is that this extensions menu is already available in the Canary build of Chrome, so you can try it out in advance before the public launch. One thing worth knowing is that this feature could change significantly by the time it gets the go-ahead for the production builds, so just don’t judge it after trying out the existing implementation. First and foremost, you need to head over to the flags screen to enable the feature. To do this, launch Google Chrome and then type: chrome://flags Next, in the flags section, you need to search for the following entry: #extensions-toolbar-menu The faster alternative is to just copy and paste the following link in the address bar of Google Chrome: chrome://flags/#extensions-toolbar-menu The flag is set to the default mode in Google Chrome Canary for now, and this means that it’s disabled. So click the drop-down menu and switch to Enabled. The browser will then prompt for a reboot. The next time you launch Google Chrome, a new icon should show up in the toolbar, and clicking it displays a list of the available extensions. There’s not much you can do right now because the only option is clicking on each extension to launch it. Most likely, Google would further refine the capabilities in the coming weeks, and one option that would make sense for such a menu is a remove button to quickly uninstall a specific extension. It remains to be seen when Google Chrome will come with such an option in the stable build, but right now, it’s better not to hold your breath for it. Source
  13. Google Chrome to Warn Users of Flash Player Retirement Adobe is planning to retire Flash Player in 2020, and the whole world is preparing for this critical moment, including browser developing companies. Google, for instance, has tried to make the transition off Flash Playeras smoothly as possible, and the upcoming release of Chrome 76 will represent a key step in this regard. The browser will disable Flash Player completely, and users who’ll want this feature enabled will have to do the whole thing manually from the settings screen. But the bigger change coming in Google Chrome is a warning that will be displayed when launching the browser, though there’s a chance that Google could further tweak this behavior in the coming weeks. As discovered by 9to5google, a recent Chromium developer discussion provides us with an early look at the warning, which will be shown as an info bar at the top of the screen. “Flash Player will no longer be supported after December 2020,” the notification reads, and a learn more link gets users to more information about this change.Not yet part of CanaryAccording to a Chromium code commit, the warning is already in the works right now, and will be added at a later time together with a feature flag. “Flash: Add in-product warning infobar about impending Flash deprecation. This CL adds the infobar, but doesn't hook it up to anything. That is forthcoming still. It also adds the feature flag,” the commit reads. Needless to say, warning users in advance that Flash Player support is coming to an end certainly makes the transition smoother, especially as this will be a key point in the history of the world wide web. For the time being, the warning isn’t yet implemented in the Canary builds of Google Chrome, but we’ll continue to monitor the progress in this regard and let you know when you can try it out. Source
  14. Every time Google updates its browser, it publishes release notes aimed at enterprises to highlight upcoming additions, substitutions, enhancements and modifications. Here's some of what's coming. geralt (CC0) Fact: Chrome rules. With a massive two-thirds of the world's browser user share - a measurement of browser activity calculated monthly by analytics vendor Net Applications - Google's Chrome has no peer in popularity. So when Chrome speaks, people listen. That holds true for whatever moves Google makes with each browser upgrade - something Computerworld details in the What's in the latest Chrome update? series - and in what it plans to do in the future. With each update, Google publishes a set of release notes aimed at enterprises. In those release notes, the company highlights some of the upcoming additions, substitutions, enhancements and modifications planned for its browser._ In an effort to look ahead at the browser's future, we've collected the most important of the latest items in Chrome's "Coming soon" category. But as Google takes pains to point out, "They might be changed, delayed, or canceled before launching to the Stable channel." You've been warned. Chrome 75: Legacy browser support baked in What Google has called Legacy Browser Support (LBS) has long been part of the search company's arsenal in its battle for enterprise users. Once configured by IT administrators, LBS automatically opens Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) when links clicked within Chrome lead to websites, web services or web apps requiring Microsoft's browser, or more likely, IE's ActiveX controls or Java, neither of which Google's browser supports. LBS was more important in the days when IE ruled the browser roost and Chrome was scratching for every corporate customer. Today, when Chrome lords it over all browsers - last month it accounted for 67% of all browser user share - LBS has lost its luster. Still, Google plans to bring the capability inside the browser. (It's always before required a Chrome add-on.) "Legacy browser support functionality is being incorporated into Chrome browser, and the separate extension will no longer be needed," Google said. However, the add-on will remain in the Chrome Web Store after Chrome 75's release so that organizations running older versions of the browser still have access to LBS. Chrome 75: End to opt-out of site isolation Unveiled in late 2017 within Chrome 63, Site Isolation is a defensive technology that segregates pages from different sites into different processes. Each process runs in a "sandbox" that restricts what the process can do, all as part of a scheme to isolate malware from the browser as a whole and the device's over-arching OS. Site Isolation was enabled in stages until by mid-2018 it was enabled for virtually all Chrome users. At that point, only managed devices were able to opt-out. As of Chrome 75 - currently scheduled to ship June 4 - that will end. "We've resolved the reported issues and starting with Chrome 75, we will remove the ability to opt out of site isolation on desktop using the SitePerProcess or IsolateOrigins policies," Google said. Chrome 76: Flash to be blocked by default Nearly two years ago, Adobe announced that it would finally bury Flash Player - an app that in many ways, made the web - at the end of 2020. Browser makers like Google then detailed how they would end their support for Flash. While Google has limited Flash for years - in late 2016, it was turned off by default and restricted to a handful of sites, including Amazon, Facebook and YouTube - this summer Chrome will institute a complete Flash blockade. With Chrome 76, now slated to ship July 30, Flash will be disabled by default. Individual users will be able to switch back to a default "Ask to use Flash" in settings (until Google ends all support by yanking it from the Chromium project in December 2020), and enterprises will be able to continue controlling Flash usage through the DefaultPluginsSetting,PluginsAllowedForUrls and PluginsBlockedForUrls policies. Chrome ??: Version roll-back Google will add a browser roll-back process for enterprises that want to retreat to an older version of Chrome, the company said in the latest guidance given to IT administrators. The functionality will be available only to customers using Windows' group policies to manage Chrome. "The new ((group)) policy will allow administrators to roll back in conjunction with the existing TargetVersionPrefix ADMX policy," Google stated. Google will name the new group policy RollbackToTargetVersion. The most likely reason for wanting to roll back Chrome to an earlier version would be because the latest browser caused problems, perhaps a mission-critical app compatibility or workflow issue. When roll-back is implemented, Google will recommend that customers turn on the browser sync feature or alternately, Roaming User Profiles, which lets users take bookmarks, passwords, extensions and preferences to multiple PCs. Failing to do that will mean that data synced from later versions won't be usable by older editions, including the one rolled back to an earlier iteration. Not surprisingly, Google warned, "Use this ((roll-back) policy at your own risk." Source: Fast forward: What's coming in future versions of Chrome? (Computerworld - Gregg Keizer)
  15. Google added "Motion and light sensors" permission controls to Chrome Canary recently so that users of the web browser may control the functionality. Browser makers like Mozilla or Google add new functionality to their browsers regularly. New APIs, the Sensor API is just one example, add new functionality that sites and applications may make use of. APIs may expose data to sites and services, and may even give sites control over functionality. Web browsers like Firefox or Chrome support permissions that give users control over these features. Sensor permissions are available in Chrome Canary only right now; the Android version and the desktop version supports the option. Canary is a development version of Google Chrome; it takes months usually before features land in stable versions of the Chrome browser. Google added global and per-site Sensor access controls to the Chrome web browser which users of the web browser may use to control access to the Sensor API in the browser. Access to Sensors is enabled by default. You may disable Sensors globally or on a per-site basis if you prefer that. Here is how you do that: Load chrome://settings/content/sensors in the Chrome address bar. Doing so opens the Sensor permissions in the browser. Toggle "Allow sites to use motion and light sensors" to enable or disable Sensors globally. Sites that you added to the allow or block list are displayed there as well. Tip: You can manage permissions for other APIs and features by loading chrome://settings/content/. Most, e.g Microphone or Camera are set to "ask" which means that Chrome displays a prompt whenever it detects attempts to access these APIs. The option is also available for individual sites. Just activate the icon that Chrome places in front of the web address to get started. Chrome may display a direct option to allow or block motion or light sensors on a specific site. You may also access the Site settings by activating that link. These display all permissions that Chrome supports. Changes that you may to the site permissions are valid only for the selected site. You may use the options to override global permissions, e.g. to allow a feature on a site or to block it. Closing Words The option to block Sensor API access landed in Chrome Canary 75 and Google has not yet revealed when the feature will land in the stable version. Chrome 75 Stable could be that target, a release that is about 2-3 months away. Source: Google adds Sensor permission controls to Chrome (gHacks - Maertin Brinkmann)
  16. How to Install Windows Defender Application Guard for Google Chrome and Firefox Microsoft has recently released a new browser extension whose main purpose is to protect users when visiting websites that could pose a threat due to the content they host. The Windows Defender Application Guard extension supports Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, and it’s technically an isolated browsing session that blocks pages from reaching your data and, if compromised, from doing any harm. Despite being aimed at Google Chrome and Firefox, the extension fires up an isolated Microsoft Edge session, so you’re still going to use the native Windows 10 browser when needed. But on the other hand, the way it works makes it quite a valuable asset in the effort to stay protected from threats online. And it does everything automatically. Basically, the extension checks the URL of the page that you load in Firefox and Chrome against a list of trusted sites defined by IT administrators. If the website isn’t on the list, then the extension loads the URL in an isolated Edge instance. “In the isolated Microsoft Edge session, the user can freely navigate to any site that has not been explicitly defined as trusted by their organization without any risk to the rest of system. With our upcoming dynamic switching capability, if the user tries to go to a trusted site while in an isolated Microsoft Edge session, the user is taken back to the default browser,” Microsoft explains. There are several requirements in order to use this extension, and the first of them is the Windows 10 version. You must be running Windows 10 Professional version 1803 or newer or Windows 10 Enterprise version 1709 or newer. The Home SKU is not supported. First and foremost, you need to install Windows Defender Application guard on the device. There are two ways to do this. You can launch an elevated PowerShell instance (right-click the Start menu > Windows PowerShell (Admin)) and the type the following command: Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -online -FeatureName Windows-Defender-ApplicationGuard The alternative comes down to typing Turn Windows features on or off in the Start menu, opening the feature management screen, and then enabling Windows Defender Application Guard. In both cases, a system reboot is required to complete the install. Next, you need to install the extension components. In addition to the extension for each browser, you also need a companion app from the Microsoft Store that will take care of everything. The items that you need to download are the following: Google Chrome extension Mozilla Firefox extension Microsoft Store companion app After installing the extension and the companion app, reboot the system once again. The next time you launch Google Chrome, you should see a landing page telling you whether all requirements are met or not. “We designed the user interface to be transparent to users about Windows Defender Application Guard being installed on their devices and what it does. We want to ensure that users are fully aware that their untrusted navigations will be isolated and why,” Microsoft says. This feature will be part of the upcoming Windows 10 version 1903 that’s projected to be finalized this month and then released to production devices beginning with April. You can try out the feature already as part of the latest preview build available in the Windows Insider program. Keep in mind that the extension only works with the Windows Defender Application Guard enabled on the Windows 10 devices. This feature, in turn, requires Windows 10 Professional and Windows 10 Enterprise, so once you update to version 1903 when it goes live, you still need to be running one of these two to use the extension. Source
  17. DuckDuckGo is now a default search engine option in Chrome Google says its updated options are "based on popularity of search engines in different locales." DuckDuckGo is now one of Chrome's default search engine options. DuckDuckGo DuckDuckGo is now a default search option in Google's Chrome browser. Google included private search engine DuckDuckGo in its updated lists of default search engines for Chrome 73, which the search giant released Tuesday. TechCrunchearlier reported the news. "Starting Chrome M73, we have updated the list of default search engines available in Chrome settings," said a Google spokesperson in an email statement. "The new list is based on popularity of search engines in different locales, determined using publicly available data." To change your default search engine in Chrome, go to Settings then manage search engines. DuckDuckGo now appears in the list of default search engines along with Google, Bing and Yahoo. DuckDuckGo has become popular among users who are concerned about privacy violations. Founded in 2008, DuckDuckGo lets users search online anonymously. The private search engine in October said it had reached 30 million searches. DuckDuckGo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Source
  18. WebGL is not supported on Chrome or Firefox? Enable it! WebGL or Web Graphics Library is nothing but a JavaScript API which helps it in rendering interactive 2D and 3D graphics on any supporting web browser without any third party plugins being used. It works well along with web standards which allows it to use the GPU acceleration to render graphics and physics as a part of a web page. It greatly impacts in improving the overall performance of a web page. It is supported on a variety of web browsers like Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and more. But at times, it does not work properly or is not enabled; we will learn today how to get it fixed. Enable WebGL on Chrome & Firefox This issue can be caused due to a number of factors. It includes both browsers as well as the operating system. The Graphics Driver also plays a crucial role in helping out WebGL to function on a computer. Today, we will be checking out how to fix this issue on your updated browsers- Manually enable WebGL on Chrome or Firefox Update your Graphics Card Driver. 1] Manually enable WebGL on Chrome or Firefox First of all open Google Chrome and click on the Menu button (by clicking on three dots button on the top right corner). Next click on Settings. Scroll down to find the button that is labeled as Advanced and click on it. Under the section that goes by the name System, turn on the toggle of Use hardware acceleration when available. Restart Google Chrome. When it starts up again, type in chrome://gpu/ in the address bar and hit the Enter key. This will now display if WebGL is properly enabled or not. Alternatively, you can open the Google Chrome browser and visit this URL: chrome://flags. Look up Disable WebGL in the search box on the top portion of the page. Toggle the appropriate entry to Disabled. Restart Google Chrome for the changes to take effect. This will enable the touch-friendly User Experience on Google Chrome. Firefox users can do the following. To disable Hardware Acceleration in Firefox, open the browser > Options. Now under the General section, scroll down a bit to see Performance. Here check the Use hardware acceleration when available option. Restart Firefox. 2] Update your Graphics Card Driver From the WinX Menu, open Device Manager. Expand the list that says Display Adapters. Right-click on the listing of your NVIDIA Graphics Card and select Enable. Now, right click on it again and click on Update Driver Software… A new window will open up. On that, click on Search automatically for updated driver software. If Windows now detects your Graphics Card and the latest driver for it, great! Else, proceed as follows: Right click on it again and click on Update Driver Software… Click on Browse my computer for driver software. Click on Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer. Select a compatible driver for your computer named as NVIDIA Graphic Card and proceed further. Let the whole process finish. And then restart your PC for the changes to take effect. This will help you update your Graphics Driver. Source
  19. Learn Languages with Google Translate is a browser extension for Google Chrome that combines Google's translation service with options to record and practice vocabulary. The extension is maintained by Wordeys and available as a free limited version and paid subscription-based versions. The free is good enough for creating lists and words, and practicing using two different testing methods. Subscriptions start at $1.99 per month; they add new features such as translation suggestions or private lists to the service. Learn Languages with Google Translate Learn Languages with Google Translate requests access to the Google Translate website as an extra permission. The extension adds an icon to the Chrome address bar which you interact with. A click on "Go To Google Translate" opens the modified Google Translate interface. You may add new words to a list with a click on the favorite icon next to the entry. A click on the Wordeys button opens the saved entries and you may use the voice icon next to any word or phrase to listen to its pronunciation. Note that you need an account, free or higher, to save lists that you create. You may export the listing as a spreadsheet on Google Sheets without an account, however. You find a new "Practice with Wordeys" button at the bottom of the page that you may activate to start a new learning sessions. Wordeys supports the two learning methods flashcards and test currently. Flashcards displays a word and phrase to you, and it is up to you to remember the translation (and pronounce it if you like). A click on flip displays the translation. Test on the other hand requires user input. The extension displays a word or phrase, and you have to type the translation in the box on the page and hit the check button to have it verified by the extension. You may save these lists to your account if you have one, and create lists on the Wordeys site as well; there you are limited to a certain number of translations, however if you are a free account user. The developers plan to make lists publicly available at one point. It would then be possible to subscribe to lists that someone else created to use them to learn the language or memorize words and phrases. Closing Words Wordeys approach is quite interesting but fairly limiting at this point. It is a good service for users who use Google Translate regularly, as it makes it easy to create word lists that way while using the service. Is it better than language learning apps like Duolingo or Memrise? The approach is very different. Right now, I'd say that the apps do a better job if you want to learn all major words of a language quickly. Wordeys strength is that you can create custom lists with words that other language apps may not teach at all. Source: Learn Languages with Google Translate for Chrome (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  20. Chrome Download Unblocker is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices -- all from Windows XP to the very latest Windows 10 version -- that you may use to configure Chrome to allow any download to go through. Google Chrome uses Safe Browsing functionality as a safeguard against potentially problematic or outright malicious file downloads. Google introduced Safe Browsing in 2011 in Google Chrome. While the browser does block malicious files from landing on the system if Google knows about them (if they are on the Safe Browsing list), it may also block legitimate files. While users may be able to allow certain downloads to complete by interfering manually, it is not possible for all files. Chrome Download Unblocker steps in. It is a simple to use program that toggles the functionality. A VirusTotal scan returned no hits. All you do is download the archive to the local system, extract it, and run the setup file afterward. The interface has just one option: to unblock or block downloads in Chrome. The initial state is blocked and a click on "unblock downloads" lifts the restriction. Chrome cannot run during the operation and you will get a prompt to close the browser to continue. The program should display the unblocked status in its interface after the operation. You can exit it at this point in time; in fact, you only need it again if you want to toggle the status again or when Google changed something in Chrome that reverted the status. All downloads are allowed without blocking of any kind in Chrome when the download status is set to unblocked in Chrome Download Unblocker. How useful is the program? If you run into blocked downloads regularly in Chrome, you may benefit the most as it speeds up the process as you don't need to interact with Safe Browsing manually anymore. The downside to using the program is that it will also allow downloads of malicious program that Safe Browsing would have blocked; this may be mitigated by installed antivirus applications if they support the functionality. I run into blocked file downloads regularly in Chrome, usually when I download a program that is not very popular, e.g. a new program. It is not that difficult to allow the download manually and to verify the claim that Chrome makes using services like VirusTotal. I could see this becoming a huge nuisance if you download dozens of files per day or even more that are blocked, or simply don't want the hassle. Source: The Pros and Cons of using Chrome Download Unblocker (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  21. Microsoft Officially Brings Windows 10 Timeline to Google Chrome Microsoft has just announced a Google Chrome extension that enables Windows users to access their Windows 10 Timeline activities in Google’s browser. Previously, Timeline was only supported in Microsoft Edge, and users could expand it to Google Chrome with an unofficial extension that was rolled out in late 2018. However, with the new extension, called Web Activities, Microsoft makes it possible for all browsing history to be synced between devices and show up in Windows 10 Timeline for seamless transition even if you use Google Chrome. What’s more important is that your browsing data in Chrome also syncs with Microsoft Launcher on Android, so it’s not just Timeline. “See your browsing activities across all your devices in surfaces like Windows timeline and Microsoft Launcher for Android,” the extension description reads. “With this extension, your browsing history will appear across all your devices in surfaces such as in Windows timeline and Microsoft Launcher for Android. Just sign in with your Microsoft account, select a site you’ve recently visited, and pick up where you left off.”More apps coming to TimelineIn a post for insiders, Microsoft explains that the target for Timeline is to expand it in a way that more apps could be supported. Google Chrome is just one of the first, with many more to come, Microsoft promises. “As we move into planning for future development, we are focusing on yet another Insider request: add support for more apps in Timeline. Browser support was especially high on our Insider’s wish list — which lead the recent introduction of our Chrome extension. Now, Timeline can now bring together even more activities,” it says. You can download the new Google Chrome extension from the web store. No ETA has been provided as to when more apps could be added to Timeline, but expect more news on this front in the coming months. Source
  22. Google Accidentally Breaks Down Ad Blockers in Chrome Browser If you’re running Google Chrome 72 and your ad blocker no longer seems to do anything and offer you a completely clean browsing experience, it’s all because of the search giant which has accidentally broken down some extensions. As it turns out, Google Chrome 72 introduces a new feature called “Enable network service” which allows the browser to create background tasks for each website. But because bugs in these service workers, the new feature available in Google Chrome makes it possible for extensions to be ignored completely, eventually leading to the features of some to be fully disabled. This is the case of ad blockers, which reportedly leave ads on a number of websites to get through, but other extensions seem to be broken down too, including VPNs.Issue already fixed in the next Chrome updateThe problem has already been fixed in Google Chrome 73, which is the next stable release for the browser, but more surprising is that Google doesn’t want to shut down its experiment for now. Because, as the company puts it, this is key for the feature of the browser. “At this point, if this is the only breakage in the experiment we’re not rolling back. The reason is that as a relative percentage of users of Chrome, this is still small (e.g. less than 0.1%). When launching multi-year projects that impact a large part of the codebase, it’s impossible to avoid any regressions. We have to balance making forward progress and avoiding other regressions creeping in with breaking some edge cases. The best way for extension authors to avoid this is to use dev/beta channels,” Google said. The impact of the bug is believed to be small since the experiment is only available for a number of users. However, it’s important to keep in mind that several extensions are broken down, which means the issue could after all significantly affect the experience with the browser. Source
  23. Windows Mixed Reality support is now live in Chrome Canary Back in January, we spotted a couple of commits on Chromium Gerrit which revealed that Google is considering bringing support for Windows Mixed Reality to Chrome. In the past few weeks, Chromium contributors made several commits for implementing Windows Mixed Reality support in the browser and it looks like the things have been finally finalized. Google Chrome Canary was recently updated with a new flag that enables Windows Mixed Reality support. Spotted by us, the flag titled ‘Windows Mixed Reality support’ if enabled will allow users to use Windows Mixed Reality headsets with Chrome. “If enabled, Chrome will use Windows Mixed Reality devices for VR (supported only on Windows 10 or later). – Windows,” the flag description reads. At the time of writing this story, the flag is live in Chrome Canary version 74.0.3710.0. It’s worth noting that the Windows Mixed Reality integration won’t be limited to the Chrome browser, as the Chromium browsers including the upcoming Microsoft Edge will be also able to access the changes. Google Chrome, which according to analytics firm runs on more than 60 percent of PCs, will receive support for Windows Mixed Reality soon. Google Chrome has supported some virtual reality headsets, but proper support for all Windows Mixed Reality headsets has been missing. It’s not known when Google plans to ship the feature in the stable version of Chrome. Source
  24. Chrome 72 has a confirmed bug currently that affects a small part of the overall population that uses the stable version of the browser. Affected users may notice that extensions that work with connections, e.g. content blockers, work incorrectly on some sites. The issue was reported on February 13 on the official Chromium bug listing site. According to the report, most requests from a Chrome 72 browser were not intercepted on some sites such as Gmail while blocking worked fine on others. Extensions with confirmed issues are uBlock Origin and Mailtrack. Most content blockers are probably affected by the issue. It turned out quickly that a variation of the Chrome configuration was responsible for the behavior. Google runs so-called Field Trials in Chrome to test new features and changes. You can list all variations of a particular version of Chrome by loading chrome://version/. The Field Trial responsible for the issue is called Network Service by Chromium engineers.The Network Service "makes network requests through a separate process" according to Google. Google fixed the bug in Chrome 73 Beta but won't bring the fix to the current stable version of Chrome. In other words: Chrome 72 users who experience the issue need to find another way to resolve it. Google suggests to upgrade to Chrome 73 Beta or disable the experiment. Considering that most users may not want to upgrade to a beta browser, here is how you disable the feature right now in Chrome 72: Load chrome://flags/#network-service in the Chrome address bar. Set the experiment to Disabled. Restart Chrome. The issue should be fixed in Chrome Stable after the restart. Try connecting to Gmail or any other site that uses web workers to test if that is indeed the case. Google decided not to stop the rollout of the experiment or roll it back. At this point, if this is the only breakage in the experiment we're not rolling back. The reason is that as a relative percentage of users of Chrome, this is still small (e.g. less than 0.1%). When launching multi-year projects that impact a large part of the codebase, it's impossible to avoid any regressions. We have to balance making forward progress and avoiding other regressions creeping in with breaking some edge cases. The best way for extension authors to avoid this is to use dev/beta channels. Google stating that extensions authors could avoid issues like the one experienced by testing against Dev and Beta versions is misleading in this case considering that the experiment might not even have been enabled in a particular version of Chrome. While less than 0.1% of all Chrome users seems relatively low, it could still affect hundred of thousands of users. Source: Fix Chrome 72 extensions not working correctly (e.g. adblockers) (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  25. Google backtracks on Chrome modifications that would have crippled ad blockers Google changes stance on upcoming Chrome Manifest V3 changes as benchmark shows they lied about performance hit. A study analyzing the performance of Chrome ad blocker extensions published on Friday has proven wrong claims made by Google developers last month, when a controversy broke out surrounding their decision to modify the Chrome browser in such a way that would have eventually killed off ad blockers and many other extensions. The study, carried out by the team behind the Ghostery ad blocker, found that ad blockers had sub-millisecond impact on Chrome's network requests that could hardly be called a performance hit. Hours after the Ghostery team published its study and benchmark results, the Chrome team backtracked on their planned modifications. At the root of Ghostery's benchmark into ad blocker performance stands Manifest V3, a new standard for developing Chrome extensions that Google announced last October. The long-winded document contained many new rules about what Chrome functions and APIs an extension should use. One of the modifications was for extensions that needed to intercept and work with network requests. Google wanted extension developers to use the new DeclarativeNetRequest API instead of the older webRequest API. This new API came with limitations that put a muzzle on the number of network requests an extension could access. It took some time before ad blocker developers caught on to what this meant, but when they did, all hell broke loose, with both extension developers and regular users accusing the browser maker of trying to kill third-party ad blockers for the detriment of Chrome's new built-in ad blocker (which wouldn't be impacted). Chrome engineers justified the change by citing the performance impact of not having a maximum value for the number of network requests an extension could access. But the Ghostery team disagreed with this assessment. "This work [referring to the study] was motivated by one of the claims formulated in the Manifest V3 proposal of the Chromium project: 'the extension then performs arbitrary (and potentially very slow) JavaScript', talking about content-blockers' ability to process all network requests," said Cliqz, the company behind the Ghostery ad blocker. "From the measurements, we do not think this claim holds, as all popular content-blockers are already very efficient and should not incur any noticeable slow-down for users," they added. Their study --which analyzed the network performance of ad blockers such as uBlock Origin, Adblock Plus, Brave, DuckDuckGo and Cliqz'z Ghostery-- found sub-millisecond median decision times per request, showing quite the opposite of what the Chrome team claimed. Image: Cliqz // Composition: ZDNet Following the publication of this study, Google engineers made it official on a Google Groups posting hours later, announcing a relaxation of the Manifest V3 changes that would have impacted ad blockers. "Another clarification is that the webRequest API is not going to be fully removed as part of Manifest V3," said Chrome engineer Devlin Cronin [emphasis his]. "The extensions ecosystem on Chrome is vibrant and varied, and enables myriad use cases that would otherwise be impossible," Cronin added. "We are committed to preserving that ecosystem and ensuring that users can continue to customize the Chrome browser to meet their needs. This includes continuing to support extensions, including content blockers, developer tools, accessibility features, and many others. It is not, nor has it ever been, our goal to prevent or break content blocking." Chrome's decision to ship the ad-blocker-breaking features was doomed from the start. Regular users have grown attached to their ad blockers, and for obvious reasons. Ad blockers may come with some sort of performance impact, but they also have benefits, which haven't gone unnoticed by end users. A May 2018 study from the same Ghostery team found that pages tend to load up to twice as fast when using an ad blocker. Another study released this week by software engineer Patrick Hulce showed that advertising code accounts for the largest chunk of the JavaScript execution tasks performed by a browser --giving users a good reason to block them. Image: Patrick Hulce A DebugBear study from December 2018 also showed that ad blockers don't impact Chrome performance as much as people think, with other extensions bringing a bigger hit to CPU consumption, page download size, and user experience. Source
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