Chrome 71 Stable Hits Android With Anti-Abuse Measures & More

Android users should start seeing version 71 of Chrome rolling out starting today bringing a number of anti-abusive behavior measures over from the desktop iteration alongside one or two adjustments to settings and site interactions. The most immediate change will likely be that far fewer advertisements will be appearing for users. That's thanks to new policies and practices introduced with Chrome 71 but Google is aiming directly at malicious or misleading ads. That includes those that closely resemble chat windows, system-level dialogs or notifications, or warning messages. Websites that frequently display those will be warned moving forward before having their ads blocked entirely if the behavior continues. Android users will also now see a pop-up warning them if the page they are visiting is likely to try and charge them money. Those will not appear on pages where the intent to do so is made clear but will when a site either doesn't include or hides details in opposition to Chrome's best practices.

Autoplay policies intended to bring an end to jarring audio or video loading up as soon as users navigate to a site are being rolled into Web Audio API with this release as well. That should result in a nearly complete reduction to instances where media playback starts before a user is ready or before a given website loads. On Android specifically, users should notice that the icon used for freshly-loaded new pages has been replaced by a grayscale Chrome icon. The font used for the words 'New Tab' also appears to have been made slightly heavier. In the settings menu, the 'Autofill and payments' submenu has been split into 'Payment methods' and 'Addresses and more', creating a cleaner line of separation between the sets of options and easier access to either.

Finally, users on Android could see significant changes to the way some of the webs more immersive pages are displayed. As of Chrome 71, developers can choose to display full-screen web apps without system level navigation. Chrome will be able to override that if it has to but that should mean a more app-like experience for sites that choose to implement the feature.

Background: The majority of the changes in Chrome 71 already arrived on desktop earlier this week and contained most of the same features. There were at least a few other bug fixes and optimizations made on that platform in addition to the ones not specifically for Android. To begin with, Google eliminated the browser's ability to start up speech synthesis by default or without express permission from the user. Version 71 also introduced International Relative Time Format API to reduce the impact previously caused by the libraries required to display dates and times in a relative manner. That's in addition to a further reduction to resources used for websites brought about by making lightweight vector-based COLR/CPAL fonts and changes 'credentials mode defaults' in JavaScript modules.

Impact: The update to Chrome 71 isn't going to hit every user immediately and Google estimates that it could take several weeks to land for any given Android phone or tablet user. Once it does, it should make the entire experience of using Chrome on Android much more pleasant. Not only will there be a lower instance of malicious or otherwise abusive ads. Under-the-hood changes should mean faster loading for websites and fewer resources used by the browser.

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