Google has officially started the rollout of its Chrome 80 update, delivering cross-site tracking protections to some extent and quieter notifications UI. That's according to recent reports stemming from Google's official Chromium Blog.
Of course, a smaller but no less vital part of this update is the incoming security fixes. This time around, Google doesn't have any critical fixes that needed to be put in place. But there are no fewer than 10 "high" severity security fixes and patches here. So users will want to ensure they've updated to the latest version of Chrome as quickly as possible.
Described as a "new secure-by-default cookie classification system," the change will ensure that cookies saved during browsing are less likely to be misused. Now, developers will need to either set a "SameSite" attribute or the browser will automatically.
Summarily, developers will need to set it to "Lax" to indicate that the saved data is only blocking cookies when connecting directly from one website to certain secure aspects of another. If no setting is applied, cookies will be set to secure, meaning that cookies are only allowed to be used when making a secure (HTTPS) connection.
That won't necessarily make every connection secure. But it should help ensure sites connected to via more secure HTTPS connections are better protected. Google will begin enforcing the change later in February.
What else is new in Chrome 80?
A larger user-facing alteration with the Chrome 80 update is going to be Google's new Quieter UI. That, like other initial launches in Chrome 80, will start rolling out slowly to a smaller subset of users.
First unveiled in early January, Quieter UI changes the way that notification blocking appears. On desktop platforms and mobile platforms, Chrome will now present users with a slimmed-down notification indicating that notifications have been blocked.
For desktop users, the notification will be accompanied by a slashed-out bell icon in the URL Omnibox. For mobile users, a pop-up at the bottom of the page UI will denote the blocking action. Clicking the pop-up will highlight options for unblocking the notifications.
The feature is automatically enabled for users who have already blocked most notifications. Turning on Quieter UI is fairly straightforward for those who don't see it activated automatically. Navigating to the settings for the browser and scrolling down to notifications will reveal a new toggle for turning it off or on. Chrome 80 presents that as an option to "Quiet" notifications.
In addition to Quieter UI, Google is rolling out tab grouping features in Chrome 80.
Coming to Chromebooks soon enough
As is always the case, this update chiefly applies to Windows and other desktop platforms. The mobile variant of Chrome will follow in short order, typically within a day or two. Chromebooks and other Chrome OS devices receiving the changes further out.
Specifically, the current expectation is that Chromebooks will begin seeing the Chrome OS 80 update as of February 11. Now, Google hasn't always adhered to a strict timeline on its own desktop OS platform. That's presumably due to minor fixes that need to be applied but also because it takes longer for the change to roll out to Chrome hardware. But users should expect the update to arrive within a few days to weeks from that date.