Google Chrome’s frequent updates recently have been bringing a huge number of features to the table, in the stable, beta and canary channels. Material Design has been making its way to almost every version of Chrome, under-the-hood features have been flowing like water, and security fixes seem to be hitting the upstream channels almost daily. With all of that going on, today’s announcement that version 52 of the popular web browser has hit the stable channel may seem a bit underwhelming to some, but there are a few things that make this update just as important as most others, aside from the big, feature-laden ones.
For starters, MacOS users finally have their taste of Material Design without having to resort to any tweaks or flag changing. This means that the full rollout of Material Design for all Chrome versions is finally complete, with Windows, Linux, Android and now MacOS finally sharing a design language and bringing a more cohesive cross-platform experience to the table. Mac users who prefer the old look, of course, just need to flip a few settings in chrome://flags to get things back to the way they were. The only other significant user-facing change is the removal of the backspace key’s function as a shortcut to go back a page. While some swore by this for things like Facebook browsing, writers, journalists, web app coders and others who do a lot of typing, especially on laptops, where the touchpad could accidentally be brushed and banish your cursor to the outer reaches of a page, will breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Aside from these two major features, not much else is going on in this update, as far as users are concerned. For developers, a wide range of under the hood tweaks and fixes are on hand to make life a bit easier and wring every possible drop of performance out of Chrome. As for security fixes, a grand total of 48 have made their way into this release, making it one of the bigger non-hotfix security releases in recent Chrome history. Things like URL spoofing, heap-buffer-overflow errors and a fairly alarming error allowing some web apps and pages to escape from a sandboxed environment were all addressed. You can hit up the source link for the full list of changes.