Google Chrome 66 Brings Site Isolation Trials To Desktops

Simultaneously with the release of Chrome 66 for Android smartphones and tablets, Google is pushing out the latest iteration of the world's most popular Internet browser to Windows, macOS, and Linux desktops as well, with the new build of the tool coming with a broad range of performance improvements and bug fixes, as well as several major additions. While the majority of functionalities such as native support for autoplay restrictions have also made their way to Android, some features such as a dedicated API for intercepting key presses are exclusive to desktops, with Chrome 66 also debuting limited Site Isolation trials that Google says will be running on "a small percentage" of machines over the coming weeks while the company is testing the system prior to a global release.

Site Isolation is Google's self-explanatory name for a service that's ultimately targeted at lowering the risk posed by Spectre, one of the two notorious security flaws of modern microprocessors that were publicly reported in early January, with the other one being known as Meltdown. The new stable version of Chrome comes with a dedicated flag that allows users to opt out of being part of a Site Isolation trial in case they're suspecting the feature is somehow negatively affecting their browsing experience or want to disable it for any other reason, though the vast majority of people won't have it enabled by default in the first place. The flag in question can be used for deactivating the test by accessing "chrome://flags#site-isolation-trial-opt-out" (without the quotation marks) through Chrome's URL bar.

Chrome 66 for desktops also ships with a new KeyboardLock API which received its own flag and allows websites to intercept certain key presses even when users are browsing the World Wide Web in fullscreen mode. Developers who opt to implement the feature and have their online apps clearly communicate what kind of events they're looking for to Chrome should hence be able to deliver more immersive games and other experiences that will do a better job at accepting keyboard input. The functionality itself has been in testing since at least early February, back when Chrome 64 was still the last stable version of Google's ubiquitous browser.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]