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  1. By now you might have already seen Google showing a notification on top of its search website with a message that it is updating its Terms of Service and it wants you to know about them before they come into effect on March 31, 2020. It is common to ignore such emails and notifications, but this time it’s different. You’ve to check those as the new terms apply to Google Chrome, Chrome OS and Google Drive also. Chrome’s Terms of Service are changing Notification Google has now started to push Terms of Service changing notification to Chrome users to let them know about new terms. We’ve received a notification today with a message informing the same with “Got it” and “Review” buttons: “Chrome’s Terms of Service are changing March 31 Please review the new terms”. If you click Review, you’ll be taken to Google Chrome Terms of Service EULA page where it provides links to check new terms and additional terms. The page also provides a link to FAQ where you’ll find more options if you don’t agree to new terms. Google simply asks to stop using their services if you don’t agree to their new terms. We’re updating the terms of service for Chrome on March 31, 2020. The new terms will include Google’s Terms of Service and the Google Chrome and Chrome OS additional terms of service. Until then, the terms below continue to apply. See a summary of the key changes for more details. See a preview of the new Terms and Additional Terms. If you don’t agree to our new Terms, you can find more information about your options in our Frequently Asked Questions. Source
  2. Google has started testing a feature that will display the search query in the Chrome address bar rather than the actual page's URL when performing searches on Google. This experimental feature is called "Query in Omnibox" and has been available as a flag in Google Chrome since Chrome 71, but is disabled by default. In a test being conducted by Google, this feature is being enabled for some users and will cause the search keyword to be displayed in the browser's address bar, or Omnibox, instead of the URL that you normally see. Query in Omnibox enabled In BleepingComputer's tests, this feature only affects searches on Google and does not affect any other search engine. When this feature is not enabled, Google will display the URL of the search in the Omnibox as you would expect. This allows you to not only properly identify the site you are on, but also to easily share the search with another user. Query in Omnibox Disabled For example, to see the above search, you can just copy the https://www.google.com/search?q=test link from the address bar and share it with someone else. With the Query in Omnibox feature enabled, though, if you copy the search keyword it will just copy that keyword into the clipboard rather than the site's URL. If you want to access the URL, you need to right-click on the keyword and select 'Show URL'. Show URL option Google is eroding the URL Google has made it clear that they do not think that the URL is very useful to users. In a Wired interview, Adrienne Porter Felt, Chrome's engineering manager. explained that Google wants to change how they are displayed in Chrome as people have a hard time understanding them. "People have a really hard time understanding URLs. They’re hard to read, it’s hard to know which part of them is supposed to be trusted, and in general I don’t think URLs are working as a good way to convey site identity. So we want to move toward a place where web identity is understandable by everyone—they know who they’re talking to when they’re using a website and they can reason about whether they can trust them. But this will mean big changes in how and when Chrome displays URLs. We want to challenge how URLs should be displayed and question it as we’re figuring out the right way to convey identity." Instead of removing them in one fell swoop, Google is gradually eroding the various elements of a URL until there is nothing left. We saw the beginning of this transition when Google Chrome 79 was released and it stopped displaying the www subdomain in URLs. In this next phase, they are testing the removal of URLs altogether from Google searches, which as everyone knows, is by far the most used web search engine. What is next? The removal of URLs on other search engines or only showing a page title when browsing a web site? All these questions remain to be answered, but could it be that Google is not wrong about URLs? I was opposed to the removal of the WWW trivial subdomain from URLs for a variety of reasons and now I don't even realize it's missing. BleepingComputer has reached out to Google with questions about this test, but had not heard back as of yet. Source
  3. Future plans include cutting the patch gap further, which might mean that Google will have to release Chrome security fixes on a weekly basis. Google security engineers said last week they have successfully cut down the "patch gap" in Google Chrome from 33 days to only 15 days. The term "patch gap" refers to the time it takes from when a security bug is fixed in an open source library to when the same fix lands in software that uses that particular library. In today's software landscape where many apps rely on open source components, the "patch gap" is considered a major security risk. The reason is because when a security bug is fixed in an open source library, details about that bug become public, primarily due to the public nature and openess of most open source projects. Hackers can then use details about these security flaws to craft exploits and launch attacks against software that relies on the vulnerable component, before the software maker has a chance to release a patch. If the software maker is on a fixed release schedule, with updates coming out every few weeks or months, the patch gap can provide hackers with an attack window that most software projects can't deal with. The Chrome web browser is one of these projects that are affected by a patch gap because it uses a large number of open source components -- from the PDFium PDF-viewing library to the V8 JavaScript engine, just to name a few. In 2019, security researchers from Exodus Intelligence have highlighted on two ocassions that Chrome's large patch gap can be exploited by attackers. First in April, and then in September, Exodus researchers developed proof-of-concept exploit code for security bugs fixed in the V8 JavaScript engine that had yet to make their way downstream into the Chrome codebase. Google took notice The good news for Chrome users is that the Exodus team's research on the topic and subsequent warnings did not go unheard with the Chrome Security team. In Chrome's recently published quarterly security summary for Q4 2019, Google engineers said they've worked to reduce Chrome's patch gap. "We now make regular refresh releases every two weeks, containing the latest severe security fixes," said Andrew R. Whalley, a member of the Chrome Security team. "This has brought down the median 'patch gap' from 33 days in Chrome 76 to 15 days in Chrome 78, and we continue to work on improving it," he added. Chrome security updates every week? As Whalley explained, Google's answer to reducing Chrome's patch gap was to release security fixes more often. With Google planning to cut the patch gap even more this most likely means that we might soon see Chrome security fixes released on a weekly basis, as Google engineers push critical security fixes from the open source libraries to users' Chrome browsers. Since Chrome features a silent update mechanism that's turned on by default for all users, in most cases, Chrome end users won't have to do take any action to receive the fixes. Similar issues with "patch gapping" also impact Google's second major software project, the Android OS, which also relies on a large number of open source components. However, delivering security updates for Android is ... a mess, to put it midly. Source
  4. Chrome 80, scheduled for release in February 2020, will block notification popups by default. Following in Mozilla's footsteps, Google announced today plans to hide notification popup prompts inside Chrome starting next month, February 2020. According to a blog post published today, Google plans to roll out a "quieter notification permission UI that reduces the interruptiveness of notification permission requests." The change is scheduled for Google Chrome 80, scheduled for release on February 4, next month. From the Notifications API to notification spam Google's move comes to cut down on the number of notification popups users see when accessing a website. Nowadays, most websites tend to pester users to enable notifications, usually via a popup that drops down from the Chrome URL bar and hides a big part of a web page. Many times, this popup also blocks access to a website, preventing users from reading any content until they deal with the popup. The feature has its use cases, and can be extremely useful, but only when used by legitimate organizations. Social networks and instant messaging clients use it to show alerts for trending topics, new posts, or new private messages. News sites, such as ZDNet, also use notifications to alert users when new articles are out. However, not all sites that use this API do it in a professional manner. Many sites tend to re-prompt users at regular intervals with new notification popups, even if users initially ignored the first prompt. Furthermore, over the past few years, cybercrime groups have also realized how to weaponize the Notifications API. In recent years a new spam tactic has been growing in popularity. Cybercrime groups lure users on their malicious sites and show notification popups. If users accidentally click on the wrong button and subscrib to one of these shady sites, then, for many days to come, they'd be pestered with all sorts of nasty popups, pushing links to shady products or links malware-infected downloads. The tactic has become very popular because it allows scammers to send new waves of spam directly to a user's device long after the user has left their site -- where the notifications have been accidentally accepted. Mozilla was first to act Notification popups were added to modern browsers in Chrome 22 (September 2012) and Firefox 22 (June 2013), with the addition of the Notifications API. Over the subsequent years, browser makers realized this new API was being abused and they added controls that allowed users to block recurring notification popups on annoying websites. However, the feature was never turned off by default, since it was being used on many legitimate sites. Back in November 2019, Mozilla became the first browser vendor to take a stance against notification spam. The browser maker didn't drop support for the Notifications API, but instead settled for a middle ground by announcing that notification prompts will continue to work, but they won't be visible anymore. Starting with Firefox 72, released today, all notification popups are hidden under an icon in the URL bar, and they won't show up prominently in the browser UI, nor would they block a user's access to a website. Firefox users who want to subscribe to a website and receive notifications have to take a proactive approach and click the URL bar icon, and then subscribe to the notification manually. Google follows suit Mozilla's change was warmly greeted by the browser's users, who, at this point, had had about enough of the constant flow of notification popups that have been like a thorn in their back for the past 7-8 years. Chrome users made their voice heard as well, requesting that Google take a similar approach. Today, Google announced a similar change. Starting with Chrome 80 next month, Google's browser will also block most notification popups by default, and show an icon in the URL bar, similar to Firefox. When Chrome 80 launches next month, a new option will be added in the Chrome settings section that allows users to enroll in the new "quieter notification UI." Users can enable this option as soon as Chrome 80 is released, or they can wait for Google to enable it by default as the feature rolls out to the wider Chrome userbase in the following weeks. To enroll, users will have to toggle "Use quieter messaging" in Settings > Site Settings > Notifications. According to Google, the new feature works by hiding notification requests for Chrome users who regularly dismiss notification prompts. Furthermore, Chrome will also automatically block notification prompts on sites where users rarely accept notifications. This approach is meant to automatically block notification prompts from sites that users believe are spam, while allowing legitimate sites to continue showing notifications to users -- such as notifications request popup from sites like Twitter, Facebook, Slack, and others. Source
  5. Google has been working on a cool global media control for Google Chrome which would allow you to control media playing in other tabs via a pop-up window when you tap on the toolbar button in red below. The feature is currently being rolled out to Chrome 79 users via a server-side update, but you can enable it immediately via a Chrome flag. To activate it directly, go to Chrome://flags, search for Global Media Controls, Enable it and restart your browser. One useful feature is that works even when hardware media key handling is disabled, meaning you can still do away with the massive Windows 10 Volume Overlay while still being able to control your media playing in hidden tabs. Do our readers like the new and rather sleek Global Media Control? Let us know below. Source
  6. Magellan 2.0 vulnerabilities were patched in Google Chrome 79.0.3945.79. A new set of SQLite vulnerabilities can allow attackers to remotely run malicious code inside Google Chrome, the world's most popular web browser. The vulnerabilities, five, in total, are named "Magellan 2.0," and were disclosed today by the Tencent Blade security team. All apps that use an SQLite database are vulnerable to Magellan 2.0; however, the danger of "remote exploitation" is smaller than the one in Chrome, where a feature called the WebSQL API exposes Chrome users to remote attacks, by default. What are the Magellan vulnerabilities? The Magellan 2.0 disclosure comes exactly one year and one week after the same Tencent Blade security team disclosed the original Magellan SQLite vulnerabilities, last year, in December 2018. Just like the original Magellan vulnerabilities, these new variations are caused by improper input validation in SQL commands the SQLite database receives from a third-party. An attacker can craft an SQL operation that contains malicious code. When the SQLite database engine reads this SQLite operation, it can perform commands on behalf of the attacker. In a security advisory published today, the Tencent Blade team says the Magellan 2.0 flaws can lead to "remote code execution, leaking program memory or causing program crashes." How and what's vulnerable All apps that use an SQLite database to store data are vulnerable, although, the vector for "remote attacks over the internet" is not exploitable by default. To be exploitable, the app must allow direct input of raw SQL commands, something that very few apps allow. The danger of remote attacks is present for users of Google Chrome, which also uses an internal SQLite database to store various browser settings and user data. This is because Google Chrome ships with WebSQL, an API that translates JavaScript code into SQL commands, which are then executed against Chrome's SQLite database. WebSQL is enabled by default in Chrome, but also in Opera. A malicious website could use the Magellan 2.0 vulnerabilities to run malicious code against its Chrome visitors. However, the Tencent team says users have no reason to worry, as they've notified Google and the SQLite team of these issues already. Tencent says the five Magellan 2.0 vulnerabilities were fixed in Google Chrome 79.0.3945.79, released two weeks ago. The SQLite project also fixed the bugs in a series of patches on December 13, 2019; however, these fixes have not been included in a stable SQLite branch -- which remains v3.30.1, released on December 10. Tencent says it was not aware of any public exploit code or attacks for the Magellan 2.0 vulnerabilities. The Chinese company said it plans to release more details about the two bugs in the coming months, and that today's disclosure only contains a summary of their findings to give app developers a heads-up and nudge towards updating the SQLite version they ship with their apps. However, some might not agree with the Chinese company's decision. When Tencent Blade published details about the original Magellan vulnerabilities last year, the company came under heavy criticism from D. Richard Hipp, SQLite's creator. At the time, Hipp said the Chinese company was overhyping the impact of the original vulnerability, as the Magellan attack vector could not lead to a remote code execution (RCE) for the vast majority of the apps relying on SQLite. Hipp was right, and his 2018 observation remains valid for Magellan 2.0, in 2019. Most apps that use an SQLite database aren't impacted by "remote" Magellan 2.0 attacks. Nonetheless, a remote code execution (RCE) scenario is possible in Chrome, primarily due to the existence of the WebSQL API. The five Magellan 2.0 vulnerabilities are tracked as CVE-2019-13734, CVE-2019-13750, CVE-2019-13751, CVE-2019-13752, and CVE-2019-13753. The original Magellan vulnerabilities are tracked as CVE-2018-20346, CVE-2018-20505, and CVE-2018-20506. Source
  7. Blank white screens in Chrome left many IT admins and users confused Google left thousands of machines in businesses with broken Chrome browsers this week, following a silent experimental change. Business users accessing Chrome through virtual machine environments like Citrix kept seeing white screens on open Chrome tabs, blocking access to the browser and leaving it totally unresponsive. It left many IT admins confused over the problem, as businesses typically manage and control Chrome updates. After complaints, Google was forced to reveal it had launched an “experiment” on stable versions of Chrome that had changed the browser’s behavior. The experiment was made silently, without IT admins or users being warned about Google’s changes. Google had simply flipped the switch on a flag to enable a new WebContents Occlusion feature that’s designed to suspend Chrome tabs when you move other apps on top of them and reduce resource usage when the browser isn’t in use. “The experiment / flag has been on in beta for ~5 months,” explained David Bienvenu, a software engineer at Google, in a Chromium bug thread. “It was turned on for stable (e.g., m77, m78) via an experiment that was pushed to released Chrome Tuesday morning. Prior to that, it had been on for about one percent of M77 and M78 users for a month with no reports of issues, unfortunately.” Google rolled back the change late on Thursday night, following multiple reports from businesses with thousands of users affected. “I’ll rollback the launch of this experiment and try to figure out how to deal with Citrix,” noted Bienvenu in the bug thread. “This has had a huge impact for all our Call Center agents and not being able to chat with our members,” explained a Costco IT admin in the Chromium thread. “We spent the last day and a half trying to figure this out.” One IT admin that alerted The Verge to the issue said “we felt that this is a shady thing that Google can update Chrome silently without announcing anything and can impact 100,000+ people on a whim.” Those concerns are mirrored by hundreds of replies on Google’s support forum, the bug tracker thread, and on Twitter and Reddit. It has left IT admins angry that they’ve wasted valuable resources and time on trying to fix issues in their environment, and questions over why Google decided to make a silent change to Chrome in the first place. “I am stunned by your response,” said one IT admin in response to Bienvenu’s confirmation on the issues. “Do you see the impact you created for thousands of us without any warning or explanation? We are not your test subjects. We are running professional services for multi million dollar programs.” We’ve reached out to Google for comment on the Chrome issues, and we’ll update you accordingly. Source: Google’s silent Chrome experiment crashes thousands of browsers and angers IT admins (via The Verge)
  8. Last week Google pushed another beta release of its browser with several interesting features. Some major changes included in this update are a shared clipboard, DNS-over-HTTPS trail, and a tab freezing functionality for desktop users. Apart from all the new features, the Chrome 79 beta came with some other changes as well. According to the forum reports, Google removed the overlay scrollbar in the Beta release. One of the users who recently installed Chrome Version 79.0.3945.16 confirmed the change in a Reddit thread: “I CAN NOT stand the default scrollbar. It wastes so much space by being there all the time and it’s a disgusting light color all the time. Is there any way to get back the sleek and simple scrollbar that only shows up when you scroll or hover mouse over the side?“ According to a Reddit user @kirbyfan64sos, Google sets an expiration date for all the flags. The engineers need to merge the flags within a specified time duration otherwise the flag expires. Apparently the overlay scrollbar flag expired as the company was not interested in maintaining the feature. It seems like the overlay scrollbar functionality was extremely popular among the users because people are looking for ways to re-enable it. Some Redditors previously managed to bring it back by editing the Local State file. However, several users confirmed that the trick no longer works in Chrome 79 Beta. Google To Bring Back “Close other tabs” Option It is not the first time Google has removed a popular feature. The company recently removed the “Close other tabs” option from Google Chrome. This change received a huge backlash from the users and the company is now planning to restore it. If you are interested to get this feature, the option will be available in Chrome Canary very soon. However, the change might take a few more weeks to make its way to the stable channel. Some people are annoyed by the fact that Google is slowly removing all those features that differentiated Chrome from Firefox. It remains to be seen if Google reconsiders its decision to remove the overlay scrollbar flag in Chrome. If we look into history, the search giant rarely reverts a change. However, it all depends on your feedback as there are few similar instances. Those who are want to get the flag should provide their feedback Chrome Help forum and Reddit forums. It is very much possible that Google might reconsider this decision. Source: Google Removes Overlay Scrollbar Flag From Chrome 79 Beta, Users Want Google To Reconsider (via Appuals)
  9. Opinion: my moans about Chrome RAM show I'm not alone You may remember a few weeks ago I let out a howl of rage about how sick I was of Google Chrome using up so much RAM in my PC. While it was certainly cathartic to write out all my frustrations, the response to the article was illuminating. What struck me was how many readers contacted me who agreed, while sharing their own frustrations with Chrome. Despite being used by (almost) everyone, no one really seems that fond of Chrome. A widely used piece of software that fails to be ‘popular’ despite its popularity – that sounds kind of familiar… I suddenly realized that Chrome could be in danger of turning into Windows. And, that’s something that Google should be worried about. People pleaser There was a time when Windows was the most-used operating system in the world. However, despite it being installed on so many PCs around the world, there wasn’t the passion – the fandom – that you’d expect with such an ubiquitous bit of software. OK, there may be a few Windows fans out there. I honestly once saw someone wear a Windows Vista t-shirt, and I don’t think they were a Microsoft employee. They might have run out of other clean clothes, though. But there’s not the same fondness for Windows that other less successful operating systems have. Apple’s got no end of acolytes that will extoll the virtues of macOS. And, the community around Linux is one of the open source operating system’s best features. Yet, somehow, users of Windows never seem to like it that much. And, while not every Windows release has been a success – I still get flashbacks to staring at Windows ME’s boot screen for what seemed like years at a time – some of them have been quite good. And it’s not like Microsoft hasn’t tried to make us love Windows. Remember when Microsoft tried to drum up excitement for Windows 7 (a perfectly good entry) by encouraging all of us to host launch parties. I do. If you managed to forget (how I envy you) behold the classic slice of cringe below: In a lot of ways, you’re just throwing a party with Windows 7 as an honored guest. Anyway, my point was that although Windows was used by millions, many people used it only because they had to. They didn’t use it because they wanted to. And that is a problem for Microsoft, as it means as soon as a decent alternative emerges, people will move on without a second thought. Luckily for Microsoft, macOS and Linux haven’t stolen too many Windows users just yet. But the danger remains. And, something similar is happening to Chrome. Unloved Chrome is by far the most popular web browser on the planet right now. And, unlike Windows, it’s not forced on anyone (unless you use Chrome OS or Android). For a lot of people, they choose to install Chrome. But I’ve increasingly heard about people complaining about Chrome. Meanwhile, less successful browsers, like Firefox, seem to have a lot more passionate fans. There seem to be several reasons for this. The first is sheer scale. Because so many people use Chrome, of course there’s going to be more people complaining about it than with less popular browsers. And, the people who do have issues with it are likely the loudest (like me). People who just get on with it, and don’t have any issues, aren’t going to keep going on about it. And, you could argue that so many of us complaining about Chrome, but still using it, is good for Google – and an indictment of its competitors. If Chrome really is that annoying, why aren’t we moving to other alternatives? For some people, we stick with Chrome because it stores all our passwords, features our favorite extensions, ties in to all our Google accounts like Gmail, and is available on all our devices. For other people, it’s laziness. We moan, but can’t be bothered to switch. For me, personally, it’s a mixture of both. But, are we staying because we love Chrome? Because we like how it performs, or the ethos of the company behind it? I’m not so sure. And, when a competitor does come along that does everything Chrome does but better – and without the annoyances – then Google might find its once dominant position under threat – as Microsoft did. Windows is no longer the most used operating system in the world. Android is. Perhaps Microsoft could actually get its own back, if its Chromium-based Edge web browser becomes a success – and wins over Chrome users. Though, I wouldn’t hold my breath. So, is there anything Google can do to get people to love Chrome? For a start, it could stop removing useful features. And, maybe take some time to understand why people use its browser, and why some people aren’t happy. And failing that, maybe Google could take a leaf out of Microsoft’s book and try and get people to love its software through enforced – and totally not cheesy – fun! If it leads to masterpieces like the videos on this page, I’d certainly be a little bit closer to loving Chrome. Source
  10. With the release of Chrome 76, Google fixed a loophole that allowed web sites to detect if a visitor was using Incognito mode. Unfortunately, their fix led to two other methods that can still be used to detect when a visitor is browsing privately. Some web sites were using Incognito mode detection in order to prevent users from bypassing paywalls or to give private browsing users a different browsing experience. This was being done by checking for the availability of Chrome's FileSystem API, which was disabled in Incognito mode. If a site could access the FileSystem API then the visitor was in a normal browsing session and if it could not access the API the user was in Incognito mode. As Google wanted users to be able to browse the web privately and for their browsing mode choices to be private as well, they have closed a loophole by making the API available in both browsing modes. As part of this fix, instead of using disk storage for the FileSystem API, when in Incognito mode they are using a transient memory filesystem that gets cleared when a session is closed. The use of a memory filesystem, though, create two new loopholes that could be used to detect Incognito mode, which are described below. Detecting Incognito mode through filesystem quotas When Google made it so that Incognito mode uses a temporary filesystem using the computer's RAM, it opened up a new method of detecting it based on the amount of storage set aside for the internal filesystem used by the browser. In research presented by security research Vikas Mishra, he found that when Chrome allocates storage for the temporary memory filesystem used by Incognito mode, it will have a maximum quota of 120MB. "Based on the above observations, key differences in TEMPORARY storage quota between incognito and non-incognito mode are that in case of incognito mode, there’s a hard limit of 120MBwhile this is not the case for non-incognito window. And from the above table it’s clear that for the temporary storage quota to be less than 120MB in case of non-incognito mode the device storage has to be less than 2.4GB. However for all practical purposes it is safe to assume that the majority of the devices currently in use have more than 2.4GB of storage." Using this knowledge, Mishra came up with a script that would query the quota allocated to the browser's filesystem and if its 120MB or less, then the browser is in incognito mode. Using Mishra's script, BleepingComputer came up with a simple PoC that demonstrates this technique. The PoC can be found here. Detecting Incognito based on filesystem size Detecting Incognito mode through access timings When it comes to reading and writing data, memory filesystems are always faster than disk filesystems. As Chrome switched to a memory filesystem in Incognito mode, it is now possible to detect private browsing by measuring the speed of writing to the filesystem. This new detection method was discovered by researcher Jesse Li that measures a series of writes to the browser's filesystem. Based on the speed of these writes, a web site could theoretically determine if the browser is using Incognito mode. Normal vs Incognito writing timings Unlike Mishra's research, Li did not come up with a full working PoC of this method, but instead came up with a script that will measure the speed of writes and display them. It is up to someone else to come up with the proper measurements to determine incognito mode with this method. Furthermore, Li's approach requires many writes to determine the speed of the filesystem, which would cause the detection process to take quite a bit of time. If you would like to measure the filesystem writes in both Incognito and regular browsing mode, Li created a script you can play with to show the write speed differences. Write Speed Test Sites already using new detection methods Unfortunately, sites have already started to use Mishra's filesystem quota detection method to determine if a visitor is in Incognito mode. As noted by Microsoft Edge developer Eric Lawrence, the New York Times, is testing this method to detect when a visitor in in private mode. New York Times detecting incognito mode This is done through a script that clearly shows Mishra's research being used. Script used to detect Incognito mode When asking Google about these two new detection methods, Google has told BleepingComputer that they stand by their statement that they will "work to remedy any other current or future means of Incognito Mode detection." Source
  11. In a move that is bound to piss off more than a couple of publishers, Google is readying to fix the “loophole” that allowed sites to see when you’re browsing in Incognito Mode. Google announced in a blog post on Thursday that the update will arrive with the release of Chrome 76 later this month. The tip-off to sites that you’re browsing in private mode is an unintended result of Chrome’s FileSystem API, which is disabled in Incognito. If a site searches for the FileSystem API and gets an error message, it can, as Google puts it, “give the user a different experience.” “With the release of Chrome 76 scheduled for July 30, the behavior of the FileSystem API will be modified to remedy this method of Incognito Mode detection,” the company said. News of this kind of behavior by websites has been cropping up for years, and it’s a huge pain in the ass if you’re, say, trying to get around a publisher’s paywall. But while it’s kind of a bummer for publishers if they can’t force you to log in, subscribe, or switch to a normal browsing mode, Google notes there are serious circumstances under which Incognito Mode users might need to protect their privacy, including political oppression or domestic abuse. This is just the latest development in Google’s performative privacy campaign as it works to keep up with every other tech giant waving their own ostensible privacy flag. But given the fact that this has been an issue for years now, fixing it seems like the very least that Google could do—particularly given its own admission that some of its users may rely on Incognito for protection beyond simply skirting a site’s views meter. That said, it’s still a welcome update. Google also noted that in addition to fixing the FileSystem API loophole, it will “likewise work to remedy any other current or future means of Incognito Mode detection.” Source
  12. Google Chrome Starts Blocking Confusing URLs Google has announced a couple of new protections for users of Chrome browser, as the company wants to lower the likelihood of users landing on phishing websites. First and foremost, the application will begin warning users when they attempt to load what is being described as a “confusing URL.” Basically, a confusing URL is considered to be a page with the address go0gle.com and which obviously tries to mimic google.com, most often as part of a phishing attack in order to steal users’ credentials. Because the number of such attempts has skyrocketed, Google Chrome now displays a new warning when users point the browser to such a confusing URL. “This new warning works by comparing the URL of the page you’re currently on to URLs of pages you’ve recently visited. If the URL looks similar, and might cause you to be confused or deceived, we’ll show a warning that helps you get back to safety,” Emily Schechter, Chrome Product Manager, explains.Hello, Suspicious Site Reporter!In addition, Google is also rolling out a new extension for Google Chrome whose role is specifically to allow power users to report domains that they think could be included in a phishing attack. Called Suspicious Site Reporter, the extension sends a specific site for review, with Google engineers to then decide whether it should be placed to the Safe Browsing list or not. “If the site is added to Safe Browsing’s lists, you’ll not only protect Chrome users, but users of other browsers and across the entire web,” Schechter notes. Both these features are available right now in the latest version of Google Chrome, so if you’ve already updated to build 75, you should be able to see the warning for confusing URLs and install the extension to report potentially dangerous websites. Source
  13. How to Enable the Dark Theme for Interstitial Warnings in Google Chrome Google has already released a dark theme in Google Chrome, allowing the browser to match the visual style of the operating system on both Windows 10 and macOS. However, while the dark theme itself is already here, there are parts of the browser that are still using the classic light theme, and this is because an application the size of Chrome can’t just be overhauled overnight with this new mode. The best example in this regard is the template used by interstitial warnings in Google Chrome, which still use the classic visual style and do not follow the dark mode in the operating system. For starters, the interstitial warnings are the messages that you get when pointing the browser to pages that are known as dangerous and could represent a threat of malware infection for users. Google Chrome thus displays a warning before these pages are loaded, making you aware of the risks but still letting you continue to the website should you want it. “When users visit a web page, browsers like Chrome check the content that’s loaded to see if any part of it is potentially dangerous. When it detects a problem, the browser shows a warning, alerting users that content from a site we’ve identified as being malicious is being loaded. In many cases, we’ll also flag the original site as malicious, which alerts the webmaster and helps to protect potential users,” Google explains. While this is a work in progress, users can already enable the dark theme in the interstitial warnings using the latest Canary build and a dedicated flag that has recently been added to the browser. The first step comes down to updating Google Chrome Canary to the latest version available right now. At the time of writing this article, the newest release is 77.0.3828.0. Then, you need to enter the advanced flags configuration screen, which is possible by clicking the omnibox (the address bar at the top) and typing the following code: chrome://flags Next, use the search box at the top to look for the following flag in Chrome Canary: Security interstitials dark mode If you just want to do the whole thing faster, copy the following code and paste it in the omnibox in Canary: chrome://flags/#security-interstitials-dark-mode The flag comes with a description that perfectly reveals its purpose: Security interstitials dark modeAllows security interstitials to take on a dark theme when the OS is switched to dark mode. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android #security-interstitials-dark-mode In the existing builds of Google Chrome Canary, the default state of this flag is disabled, so you need to click the drop-down menu next to its name and switch it to Enabled. A reboot of the browser is going to be needed in order to save the changes. When you reload the browser, interstitial warnings in Google Chrome Canary should now follow the dark theme of the operating system, obviously if enabled. If you want to activate the dark theme in Windows 10, and consequently to enable it in Google Chrome as well, you need to follow the next path: Windows 10 > Settings > Personalization > Colors > Choose your color > Dark Google doesn’t provide users with an option to use the dark theme in Chrome independently from the Windows 10 settings, so for example if you want to enable this visual style with a light theme in Windows, this isn’t possible for the time being despite user feedback calling for such a feature. Source
  14. Pin Tabs with a Drag and Drop in Google Chrome Pinning tabs is something that many users do these days when browsing the web, and a clear indicator of how popular this feature has become is nothing else than the effort developers put into improving it with every update. Google, which right now makes the number one browser on both the desktop and mobile, is looking into ways to refine the experience with pinned tabs in Chrome, and the latest Canary build provides us with a quick glimpse into how this is going to work. First of all, let me tell you that pinning tabs is something that I do every time I launch a browser, especially because I want to set aside the sites that I use most often. By pinning tabs, I can thus save my most important tabs and make sure I don’t close them by accident, while also saving space in the tab bar for other pages. Twitter, for example, is one of the sites that I always run as a pinned tab, mostly because I’m using the social network almost non-stop. To pin a tab in Google Chrome, the only thing you have to do is the following: Right-click tab > Pin tab To unpin the tab, the steps are nearly the same: Right-click pinned tab > Unpin tab But because the number of pinned tabs is increasing for Google Chrome users, which once again shows just how popular this feature really is, Google is working on introducing a new feature for the browser. Enter Drag to Modify Tab Pinnedness. Technically, this feature lets you pin and unpin a tab by simply dragging and dropping tabs from one side to the other. The first step is to pin a tab with the method mentioned above and then you can pin as many other tabs as you want by dragging them and dropping over the already-pinned tab. To unpin a tab, drag it from the left side of the screen to the region where normal tabs are normally located. It takes a while until you figure out how it works, but it’s impressive how easy it is to pin and unpin tabs this way. And for those who use to toggle a tab from one mode to another on a regular basis, such a method clearly comes in very handy. At this point, this feature is still in its early days, so it was recently introduced in the Canary version of Google Chrome. You must be running at least build 77.0.3817.0 to get this feature. First of all, you need to enter the advanced flags configuration screen in Chrome Canary by typing this in the address bar: chrome://flags In the search box at the top, type the following flag name to enable the feature: Drag to Modify Tab Pinnedness As the tab description reads: Allows users to drag tabs between pinned and unpinned tabs to modify the pinned state of the tab. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS At this point, this flag ships as disabled, so click the drop-down menu and switch it to Enabled. Reboot the browser and then the new behavior should be activated in the browser. Needless to say, it’s important to keep in mind that this feature is still in its early days, so it could take a while until it is promoted to the stable version of Chrome browser. The next stable Chrome build is version 76 due on July 30, so Google technically has enough time to bring this feature to everyone. Source
  15. How to Disable Search Suggestions with Pictures in Google Chrome The omnibox is a top Google Chrome feature, as it allows users to perform a series of tasks by simply typing in the address bar. And these include not only searching the web or active tabs, but also shortcuts to launch settings and other features of Google Chrome. But at the same time, the omnibox has evolved over time to enhance the searching experience as well, and this isn’t at all surprising given that Google is first and foremost a search engine provider. One of the features offered as part of the search capabilities powered by the omnibox is called rich search suggestions, and it is supposed to provide certain information without you having to actually conduct the search itself. The term rich is being used for content like photos, which shows up in the suggestion for a more straight-forward approach. The best example is the name of an actor, and simply typing the first letters of their name should bring up such a rich search suggestion. The suggestion, in addition to the full name of the actor, also includes a small picture that shows the celebrity in person, pretty much to make it easier for you to get more information on the person you’re looking for without actually conducting the search. Such an approach clearly makes sense from a search perspective, but on the other hand, this isn’t necessarily the experience that everyone expects. Case in point is this redditor who just wants to search for a question on Google, but typing “will” actually suggests a search for “Will Smith” along with a photo showing the actor. And while rich search suggestions are enabled by default in Google Chrome, you can actually disable them for a standard search experience. Nevertheless, doing this isn’t necessarily straightforward because Google does not offer any dedicated options in the Settings screen to control the rich search suggestions. But you can turn them off from the flags screen. In other words, the first thing you need to do is type the following command in the omnibox in order to launch the advanced flag configuration UI: chrome://flags Next, you need to search for the flag that’s responsible for this feature. It is called: Omnibox rich entity suggestions There’s also a shortcut if you want to reach this flag faster. Copy the code below and paste it in the Chrome omnibox: chrome://flags/#omnibox-rich-entity-suggestions The description of the flag explains its purpose: “Display entity suggestions using images and an enhanced layout; showing more context and descriptive text about the entity. Has no effect unless either the #upcoming-ui-features flag is Enabled or the #top-chrome-md flag is set to Refresh or Touchable Refresh. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android” The Default state of the flag in Google Chrome means it’s enabled, so what you need to do is click the drop-down menu and switch it to Disabled. A reboot of the browser will be required after making these changes. Once you launch Chrome once again, the suggestions in the omnibox should no longer include any pictures, so what you’ll get is nothing more than a basic experience that makes everything simpler. If this is what you’re looking for, you’re in luck, albeit you should keep in mind that searching for certain keywords, like actors, won’t be as easy as before. The steps mentioned here appear to be working quite fine on the latest stable version of Chrome, but on the other hand, enabling and disabling the flag doesn’t seem to make any difference in the Canary version of the browser. Source
  16. Google Chrome Grows Bigger Despite Microsoft Building a New Browser Microsoft is currently working on its very own Chromium-based browser, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that users would stop loving Google Chrome overnight. In fact, the latest statistics provided by NetMarketShare shows that the market share of Google Chrome jumped substantially in May, and the distance between Google’s browser and Mozilla Firefox increases every month. Specifically, Google Chrome improved its market share from 65.64% in April to no less than 67.90%, and this is the highest the browser managed to go in 2019. On the other hand, all the other major browsers on the market declined during the month of May. Mozilla Firefox, for example, which is the number one rival to Google Chrome, declined from 10.23% to 9.46%, while Internet Explorer 11, which no longer receives new features but only security updates, dropped from 7.49% to 6.71%. Microsoft Edge went down as well, albeit it’s important to note that the figures here concern the stable version in Windows 10 and not the Chromium-based sibling currently in preview. The early version of the revised browser is only available on Windows 10 and macOS. The original Edge declined from 5.53% in April to 5.36% in May, despite Windows 10 actually increasing its market share. This shows that many of the users who upgrade to Windows 10 end up changing the default browser either to Google Chrome or a different app. The summary of the April 2019 vs. May 2019 browser market share stats is below: Google Chrome Firefox IE11 Microsoft Edge April 2019 65.64% 10.23% 7.49% 5.53% May 2019 67.90% ↗ 9.46% ↘ 6.71% ↘ 5.36% ↘ Microsoft hasn’t yet provided an ETA as to when the new Edge is projected to go live, but a beta build is expected later this summer on Windows 10. Source
  17. How to Remove the Latest Google Searches from the Google Chrome Address Bar Google Chrome is currently the world’s number one browser on both desktop and mobile, so every little issue can impact millions of users regardless of platform. One of the latest annoyances experienced on the desktop isn’t necessarily a bug itself, but more of a behavior that Google thought would be useful, but which ends up being rather frustrating. In the most recent Google Chrome (this tutorial is based on Chrome 74, so it exists in the latest stable version as well) the search giant changed the behavior of the address bar to also include the most recent searches for faster browser. While the Omnibox is something that’s very often super-useful, quickly loading a specific website is occasionally impossible because of this updated system that includes the latest searches. As detailed in this reddit thread, the simplest example comes down to typing the letter “R” to have Chrome auto-complete the link to reddit.com and load the website. But if you previously searched for something that starts with the same letter, such as “red,” for instance, Google overwrites your original settings, so typing “R” and pressing enter conducts a search for this keyword instead of pointing you to reddit. While at some level this makes sense because you can always head over to the last keyword you searched for, it should come with a toggle to let users disable this and stick with the URL suggestions that come in so handy. Fortunately, Google allows you to actually enable this setting, only that you must do it from the advanced flags configuration screen, as there’s no dedicated option to do the whole thing right now from Chrome’s UI. The first thing you need to do is launch the flags screen by typing the following command in the Google Chrome address bar: chrome://flags Next, you need to search for the next flag using the search box at the top: Omnibox Google Drive Document suggestions If you want to find the flag faster, you can just copy the code below and paste it in the address bar of Google Chrome: chrome://flags/#omnibox-drive-suggestions The description of the flag explains its purpose: “Display suggestions for Google Drive documents in the omnibox when Google is the default search engine. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS” If you haven’t changed the settings of this flag, it should be set to Default, which means it’s currently enabled in Google Chrome browser. So if you want to disable the suggestions from showing up in the address bar, simply click the drop-down menu next to it and then select the Disabled option. You’re going to need to reboot Google Chrome, after which you can try out the new behavior in the address bar. If you want to return to the original configuration at a later time, it’s enough to just follow the aforementioned steps once again, only that this time you must switch the flag to either Default or Enabled. At the time of writing this article, it’s not yet known if Google wants to make the whole thing more straightforward by adding a dedicated option in a future Chrome update. However, such a setting is missing from the Canary version of the browser, which means that the company isn’t yet planning to develop it. It could end up being added to Chrome, however, depending on the feedback Google receives. The next stable version of Google Chrome is version 75, and according to the official schedule, it’s projected to go live for all users on June 4. Source
  18. Google Chrome Copies Chromium Microsoft Edge’s Settings Design The latest Google Chrome Canary update introduces a new design for the Settings screen that reminds of the one currently used in the Chromium-powered Microsoft Edge browser. By moving to the Chromium engine, Microsoft can help improve all browsers running on the same engine, not only its very own, and it looks like Google Chrome is one of the apps enjoying the benefits of this transition. The most recent change that Google is experimenting with concerns the Settings page, which no longer comes with a hamburger menu and all options placed in the middle of the screen, but with a reorganized layout previously used in Microsoft Edge. All settings categories are placed to the left of the screen in a dedicated sidebar that makes them easier to browse, and new sections inspired from Microsoft Edge, like extensions and about Chrome (which includes version information and access to the built-in update engine) are also available.Currently being tested in CanaryNeedless to say, Google Chrome is a much more advanced browser than Microsoft Edge at this point, so the menu on the left includes many more options that Microsoft’s overhauled app is yet to receive. The new design is currently up for testing in the latest version of Canary, which on my device is 76.0.3793.0. Of course, it’s very likely to make its way to the stable release of Google Chrome at some point in the future, but an ETA can’t be provided at this point. The updated settings page makes much more sense from a user perspective, especially because the experience is much more straightforward now and it’s actually easier to configure the browser. Of course, users can always turn to the search box at the top to quickly find a specific setting, but with this approach, options are grouped in categories that are overall more intuitive for the average Joe. Source
  19. Google Chrome to support same-site cookies, get anti-fingerprinting protection Google announces two new privacy-focused features for Chrome at the I/O 2019 developer conference. Image: Google // Composition: ZDNet Google plans to add support for two new privacy and security features in Chrome, namely same-site cookies and anti-fingerprinting protection. Both features have been announced today at the company's I/O 2019 developer conference, and no deadlines have been provided for when the two will hit Chrome installations in the coming year. SAME-SITE COOKIES The biggest change that Google plans to roll out is in regards to how it treats cookie files. These new controls will be based on a new IETF standard that Chrome and Mozilla developers have been working on for more than three years. This new IETF specification describes a new attribute that can be set inside HTTP headers. Called "SameSite," the attribute must be set by the website owner and should describe the situations in which a site's cookies can be loaded. A SameSite attribute of "strict" will mean the cookie can only be loaded on the "same site." Setting attributes such as "lax" or "none" will allow the cookies to be loaded on other sites as well. In layman terms, this creates a dividing line between cookies, which will become ether same-site or cross-site cookies. Google hopes that website owners will update their sites and convert old cookies that they were using for sensitive operations, such as login operations and managing per-site settings, to same-site cookies. All old cookies that don't have a SameSite header will automatically use a "none" attribute, and Chrome will consider them as cross-site --or tracking-- cookies. Google said today that it plans to add options in Chrome's setting panel so users can view "how sites are using cookies, as well as simpler controls for cross-site cookies." It is unclear if these "simpler controls" will let users block cross-site (tracking) cookies altogether, but Google promised to preview these features later this year. Firefox has added support for cross-site cookies since April 2018, with the release of Firefox 60. Chrome has supported same-site cookies since 2016, but the browser will start requiring the attribute starting later this year. As an added benefit, websites that use same-site cookies are also protected against a series of attacks, such as cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attacks. Using same-site cookies means malicious code loaded on a third-party website can't pull and read a cookie on another domain --because the "SameSite: strict" attribute in the cookie's header will block this from happening. Even if Google won't deliver on its promise to add controls to block cross-site (tracking) cookies, just by supporting the SameSite attribute, Google will greatly improve the security posture of many websites and web applications, as CRSF attacks are some of the most common today. More details about the SameSite IETF specification --currently a draft-- are available in RFC 6265, on the MDN portal, and in this introductory blog post on Google's web.dev tutorial site. ANTI-FINGERPRINTING PROTECTION But Google engineers also announced a second major new privacy feature for Chrome today at the I/O 2019 developer conference. According to Google, the company plans to add support for blocking certain types of "user fingerprinting" techniques that are being abused by online advertisers. Google didn't go into details of what types of user fingerprinting techniques it was planning to block. It is worth mentioning that there are many, which range from scanning locally installed system fonts to abusing the HTML5 canvas element, and from measuring a user's device screen size to reading locally installed extensions. The first major browser to block fingerprinting scripts/techniques was the Tor Browsers, which had to do so to prevent the deanonymization of its users. This feature was later backported back into the Firefox browser, just as Mozilla was, too, shifting to a privacy-first approach that the company set on in late 2017. Now, in a I/O conference that has centered around announcements of new privacy-focused services and features for its users, Google said that Chrome would be receiving an anti-fingerprinting feature as well. "Because fingerprinting is neither transparent nor under the user's control, it results in tracking that doesn't respect user choice," the company said today. "This is why Chrome plans to more aggressively restrict fingerprinting across the web. One way in which we'll be doing this is reducing the ways in which browsers can be passively fingerprinted, so that we can detect and intervene against active fingerprinting efforts as they happen." BUT, WHY!?! Some users might be asking themselves as to why is Google --a company that makes the bulk of its profit from online advertising and tracking users-- is now shipping these privacy features, which are expected to have a big impact on its business. The answer is simple. With ad blockers extensions that have a "scorched earth" approach to blocking intrusive tracking scripts, Google is attempting to control the eventual decline of online advertising profits. In recent months, the company has gone as far as to include a basic ad blocker inside Chrome and has even attempted to neuter ad blockers through a very controversial update to its extensions ecosystem. Ad blockers are here to stay, and Google's best chance right now is to reduce their damage by setting itself in firm control of what privacy and ad-blocking features users have access to by default --in an attempt to control the entire ecosystem before users get too used to the current state of affairs. Source
  20. Google Chrome Is Finally Getting a Feature That All Big Browsers Already Have Google Chrome is currently the number one browser on both desktop and mobile, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s also the app with all the features one could get. In fact, Chrome has been missing several key features for a long time, and one of them is a reader mode that would make it easier to read articles and long texts on websites. If you’ve used Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari on a Mac before, you probably noticed they all come with a built-in reader mode. And while it’s hard to tell why Google Chrome lacked such functionality, the good news is that the search giant is now working on a reader mode and it could be part of the next stable update for the browser. Specifics aren’t available right now, but as noted by TechDows, you can actually enable this reader mode in the latest Canary version.New stable Chrome in 4 daysTo do this, all you have to do is toggle the “Enable Reader Mode” flag to Enabled in the chrome://flags screen, after which the browser’s menu should get a new option called “Distill Page.” The next version of the browser is Chrome 74, and it is projected to land in just 4 days. However, this is unlikely to come with a built-in reader mode given that the feature is only part of the Canary builds and it hasn’t yet been promoted to more stable releases. On the other hand, there are higher chances to get the reader mode in Google Chrome 75, which according to the official schedule, should go live on June 4. Meanwhile, however, we can track its progress with the help of the Canary version of Chrome, but just don’t hold your breath for the reader mode to go live for everyone. Source
  21. The AchieVer

    Google Chrome to get a Reader Mode

    Google Chrome to get a Reader Mode Feature already active in Chrome Canary distributions. Here's how to enable it. Google's Chrome browser will get a Reader Mode, similar to the one found in competing browsers like Firefox and the old Microsoft Edge. The feature is currently under development, but Chrome Canary users can test it starting today. Chrome's Reader Mode will work by stripping pages of most of their useless content, such as ads, comments sections, or animations, and leave a bare-bones version behind, showing only titles, article text, and article images. HOW TO ENABLE READER MODE IN CHROME CANARY Work on the feature started in February this year when Google engineers began porting the "simplified view" offered by Chrome on Android to desktop editions. Today is the first day that a fully-functional Reader Mode is active in Chrome's desktop versions --via Google Chrome Canary distributions. To test Chrome's upcoming Reader Mode, users must first visit the chrome://flags/#enable-reader-mode section in their Chrome Canary version, and enable the Reader Mode option. Once the Reader Mode flag is set to "Enabled," a restart will be required before users can enter a page's Reader Mode. While Reader Mode can be used on any page, it works better with news stories and large text-based content. To use it, users must click the top-right Chrome dropdown menu and select the "Distill page" option. Once enabled, this is how Chrome's current Reader Mode looks like: ZDNet understands that there are no current plans to enhance Chrome's Reader Mode beyond this simplified view. The idea, as stated in the Chrome bug report for tracking the implementation of this feature, was to port Chrome for Android's "Simplified View," rather than create a self-standing Reader Mode, akin to Firefox's more advanced alternative, which supports loads of options, ranging from text customization features to text-to-speech support. Source
  22. What Is Google Chrome Focus Mode and How to Enable It We’ve known for a while that Google was working on a new Chrome feature called “Focus Mode,” but until now, very little was known about its purpose. In fact, when I first wrote about the Focus Mode in Google Chrome back in February, I speculated that the search giant might be working on something similar to Focus Assist in Windows 10 and which blocks notifications when running apps and games in full screen. In Chrome, such an implementation would basically put the web content at the center of everything, and this makes sense in a wide variety of scenarios, like when reading news online. And while the purpose of Focus Mode in Chrome is indeed to put the focus on a specific page, the way it works is a little bit different than what we expected. As discovered on reddit, the Google Chrome Focus Mode is now available in the Canary version of the browser, which is Google’s testing browser for experimental features before they are included in the stable release. Canary isn’t supposed to become your daily browser, but only to let you try out new ideas ahead of the public launch. What Focus Mode actually isFirst and foremost, Focus Mode in Google Chrome is specifically aimed at tabs, so you can access the feature by simply right-clicking a select tab. What it does, however, is to open the tab that you select in a separate window without the typical browsing controls, so you get to read the content on the web in a simplified interface. As you can see in the screenshots here, you can still interact with the content of the page, so it’s a little bit awkward that back and forward buttons do not exist. However, you can find them in the context menu when right-clicking the page. By the looks of things, Google just wants to provide users with an easy option to open websites in separate windows with their own process. There are no extra features that you get in this Focus Mode, so it’s basically just a new and simplified Google Chrome window. How to enable Focus Mode in Google ChromeIf you want to try out the Focus Mode in Google Chrome, the first thing you need to do is to install the Canary version. Any version newer than 75.0.3740.0 should do. Next, you need to type the following code in the Google Chrome address bar to access the browser flags: chrome://flags And then in the search box at the top type the name of the flag that we’re going to use: #focus-mode As an alternative, you can just copy and paste the following code in the address bar of Google Chrome after launching the browser: chrome://flags/#focus-mode Google Chrome Canary ships with this feature set to the Default mode, which means that for now, it’s disabled. So what you need to do is to click the drop-down menu and then select Enabled. You’ll have to restart the browser for the changes to come into effect. Once you relaunch Google Chrome, the Focus Mode feature should be active, and to use it, simply right-click any tab > Focus this tab. At this point, it’s not yet known when Google wants to include the Focus Mode in the stable version of Chrome, but given it’s already in the Canary build and apparently working alright, there’s a chance it could happen in the next release. The next version to ship is Google Chrome 74 scheduled to go live on April 23. Source
  23. Make Mozilla Firefox Look Just Like Google Chrome The browser world is more or less divided into two different parts: the group of Chromium-powered applications and Mozilla Firefox, with the latter often been considered a more private alternative to Google Chrome. Choosing between the two for beginners, however, isn’t an easy thing to do, and what’s even more difficult is to switch from one to another. However, thanks to a new pack of customizations called ChromeFox and available on GitHub, you can technically ease the transition from Google Chrome to Mozilla Firefoxby retaining the familiar look of Google’s browser. In case you don’t think this is important, the lack of a familiar interface is the main reason many people actually refuse to migrate from one product to another, and this happens in many other domains beyond software. The best example, however, is Windows 7, which for many is the last desktop operating system with a familiar interface, as both Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 introduced changes that more or less change this aspect. Getting back to browsers, ChromeFox does just that: it updates the interface of Mozilla Firefox in order to make it look like Google Chrome, so anyone coming from Google’s browser should basically feel more like home when trying out Firefox. ChromeFox comes with rounded tabs, overlay scrollbars, a bookmark bar that is only displayed on new tabs, and bigger bookmark bar item padding. All of these are supposed to create a Google Chrome-like UI that you can see in the screenshot below. Installing ChromeFox isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, but it’s a little bit more complicated than it is to install an extension or any other add-on for Mozilla Firefox. What you need to do is head over to the official GitHub page of the project and download the pack of customizations. Next, you need to extract all the contents of the archive to the profile directory of Mozilla Firefox. If you don’t know where this is, no problem. You can easily find it by clicking the Firefox menu button in the browser and then following this path: Help > Troubleshooting Info > Profile Directory > Open Folder Next, you need to create a folder called chrome if it’s not there already, and in this newly-created directory place the contents of the archive that you downloaded from GitHub. The next time you launch Firefox, the Google Chrome looks should be enabled by default. What’s worth knowing is that this customization pack comes without any options or configuration settings, so what you see is what you get. If you’re a developer, you can actually change some values here and there using the files in the archive, but other than that, this is pretty much it. If at some point in the future you want to remove the Google Chrome look and return to the classic Mozilla Firefox interface, the only thing you need to do is to delete either the chrome folder that you created entirely, or just remove the files placed in it. I tried out ChromeFox on Mozilla Firefox and, honestly, I couldn’t find anything wrong about it, as the customization pack really seem to be working pretty flawlessly. Of course, for Firefox diehards, making their favorite browser look like the number one rival isn’t the best idea, but as always, it’s better that the option to do this at least exists. If ChromeFox isn’t necessarily your cup of tea, there are several alternatives that do pretty much the same thing, and one of the most used is MaterialFox. You can try it out by downloading the pack from GitHub here. Source
  24. Google Chrome to block automatic downloads initiated from ad slot iframes Google continues its crusade against "drive-by download" attack vectors. Google Google developers plan to add a feature to Chrome that will prevent advertising slots on a website from triggering automatic file downloads in users browsers. "We plan to prevent downloads initiated from ad frames that lack a user gesture to prevent unwanted drive-by-downloads," Google developers said in a Chrome browser status pagepublished today. "Download doesn't make much sense with ads. It happens very rarely in practice and is also difficult to reproduce, which implies that a very small amount of ads are doing automatic downloads," Google said. "Blocking download in ad frames without user gesture will make the web less abusive and more secure." According to a design document that Google also published today, an "ad frame" is "an iframe marked as ad by the Chromium ad detection infrastructure AdTagging." This basically means any iframe that Google believes to be an ad. Today's news marks the second security feature that Google has announced this year as part of its efforts to block "drive-by downloads," a term used in the information security (infosec) industry to describe a download that happens without the user's knowledge. Back in January, Google announced that Chrome would also block automatic file downloads (drive-by downloads) initiated from sandboxed iframes --a type of HTML iframes also used for showing ads, but also by exploit kits to plant malware on users' computers. That first feature is scheduled to be included in Google Chrome 74, set for release in late spring. Google didn't say when it plans to start blocking automatic file downloads initiated from ad slots, but the feature is expected this year. This security feature and the protection it provides is only valid if users don't interact with the ad frames. File downloads will be allowed if users click or swipe on an ad. This will be allowed so ads can show "download" or "get it here" type of buttons. If Chrome blocks an automatic file download, the browser won't show any visible warnings. The browser maker estimates the performance impact of this feature to be negligible once implemented. Google intends to add this feature to all Chrome versions, except the one that ships for iOS, which isn't based on the Chromium engine, but on WebKit (Safari's engine). Source
  25. Google Testing New Chrome Feature for Faster Tab Switching on Android Google is currently testing a new feature for the Android version of Chrome browser that would make it easier and faster for users to switch from one tab to another. Basically, what Google wants to do is add a new toolbar at the bottom of the Chrome for Android screen that would just display the icons of the websites loaded in the browser. These aren’t thumbnails, but the favicons of each website, and tapping any of them instantly switches the browser to that page. This means you no longer have to open the tab view where you can jump from one website to another, but do it quickly by simply tapping the icons.Still a work in progressXDA explains that the new toolbar would also come with dedicated options to launch a mini tab switcher with a grid layout, but also with a plus symbol to add a new tab on the fly. A commit for this feature shows Google lists it as a work in progress and the development team is working on the underlying code powering it. For the time being, however, this feature is still in the works and isn’t even available for testing in the Canary version of Chrome. Most likely, Google will include it in the experimental browser at some point in the future and users will be able to try it out by enabling a dedicated flag. But as with every other experiment that Google is spotted testing, don’t hold your breath for it because the company could very well kill it off completely before launch if the development team isn’t pleased with the way it works. This the reason the Canary version of Chrome is so important for the future of the browser, as it allows Google to try out new features before they are available for everyone. Source
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