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Chrome 90 Beta Shows Some Of The Browser's Best Upcoming Features

Chrome Tab DG AH 2020
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Google’s Chrome browser has hit version 90 on the beta side of things, highlighting some significant new features inbound. And, based on recent reports, the search giant is showing no signs of slowing down. At least not when it comes to new features.

Among the most notable of the new inclusions in the test channel, the company is improving AR support and copy-and-paste functionality. But that’s not all that’s in store for users of the world’s most popular browser. There are at least a few other user-facing features worth talking about as well.

For starters, Google will make video conferencing less demanding for users in terms of both connection and hardware. That’s via support for the AV1 encoder and optimizations using WebRTC. Both will improve connectivity and compression. And support for AV1 will theoretically work on connections with rates as low as 30kbps. That should equate to relatively massive gains in web apps such as Zoom, Google Meet, and others.

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The search giant is also working to expand Device Attributes Web API that creates a more secure Enterprise environment via device information requests. And on adjustments to a picture class container to ensure smoother loading of images, with less jank caused by missized or misplaced images on load.

How are AR and copy-paste features improving with Chrome 90 Beta?

The more impactful of the big user-facing changes, conversely, is how Google wants to improve copy-and-paste functionality. Namely, it wants to make accessing files from the file system easier. For instance, Files on Chrome OS, Windows Explorer on Windows, or File Manager on mac. And, moreover, it wants to make them copy-able and paste-able.

While this feature is still stuck behind a flag, even in the beta channel, that would mean that users can copy and paste files from their file manager instead of having to drag-and-drop them for uploads. Or without using file picker pop-up windows.

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On the AR front, Google is working to make AR features look better in its browser. The API that’s currently under testing would work similar to ARCore’s Environmental HDR, reportedly. That would allow lighting and shadow effects from the real-world impact AR elements generated and overlaid atop the real world. Google is also working to allow more depth information from the real-world to be used by online AR, via a new Depth API.

Falling in line with that change, Google is working to give web developers and apps access to gravity-related data. With GravitySensor API, developers could use that data to make motion-based apps and games work better. Although that feature is still currently tucked behind a flag as well.

When will these changes hit the stable channel?

Now, it goes without saying that anybody can gain access to these features right now by downloading the Chrome Beta app on desktop and mobile. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be exactly the same when they land on the standard, stable Chrome channel.

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With regard to that release, that’s more difficult to say. An appearance in the beta for Chrome 90 doesn’t actually mean any given feature will arrive in Chrome 90. That’s slated to land on April 13. But, at the very least, this release does show what Google has planned at some point within the next few releases.