Version 74 of Google’s Chrome browser for desktop systems is rolling out now bringing as many as 39 security patches, a dark mode, and a couple of other useful features, according to the search giant’s Chromium Blog.
The most anticipated of those features, a Chrome UI dark mode that’s easier on the eyes and said to resemble Incognito mode, doesn’t appear to be turned on by default just yet. Rolled out with the previous update for macOS users, that will essentially ‘respect’ system level settings. If a user has switched their Windows 10 UI over to dark mode, it will activate dark mode instantly in Chrome.
Google is rolling out that particular feature more slowly but, likely to keep tabs on possible bugs or glitches it might cause, according to a Chrome Help Forum response from one Google employee. So, some users will see it before others but the feature should still arrive at some point on Chrome version 74.
Chrome OS and Linux users will have to wait for a future update before dark mode arrives on those desktop platforms. After the dark mode is active, only the dedicated Settings, Bookmarks, and similar pages remain white while the tab bar, URL UI, and three-dot menu are shifted to a nearly black tone.
What are the big features?
Following closely with earlier reports about features to be expected in Chrome 74 for desktop, the update includes a couple of other useful features too. The most prominent of those will likely be those associated with user safety.
The changes resulting in those are primarily under-the-hood but users should no longer see pop-ups on the vast majority of pages when they exit the site or tab if any examples remain at all. That’s because the latest update eliminates a pages ability to generate new windows and pages when a site is navigated away from by the user. Along those same lines, ‘sandboxed iframes’ won’t be able to initiate downloads without explicit permission in the form of a click from the user.
Shape Detection API, originally expected in Chrome 70, is activated in Chrome 74 Stable too. That allows faces, barcodes, and other shapes such as text in images to be recognized by the browser. There are a plethora of ways that might ultimately be used but at least one use case might be its application to assisting accessibility. Specifically, it could be used to help screen readers provide better descriptive information to those who use that accessibility tool.
Accessibility is getting another boost in terms of the UI itself in the latest version of desktop Chrome thanks to yet another feature. As of Chrome 74, the browser will now respect Windows and Mac user’s system level settings related to animations.
If animations are toned down or turned off at the system level, that change will carry over to the browser for compatible websites, reducing load times and possible motion sickness that can be caused by the moving elements.
What about Chrome OS and Android?
Google Chrome 74 will roll out over the next few days and up to a few weeks. For Android and Chrome OS, the rollout will most likely start within the next couple of weeks. For now, there don’t appear to be any platform-specific additions to discuss since this appears to be an update that’s mostly geared toward allowing system-level adjustments to carry over and bolstering security.
The biggest change for Android will likely be the introduction of a revamped data saver mode called ‘Lite mode’.