Web browsers have been doing more than just displaying web pages for years. To some extent, they have even become operating systems of their own, especially with advancements in Web technologies. They have become complex, sophisticated, and multi-user, which in turn requires even more work to prevent overwhelming users. In Chrome 89, Google is adding more features to the world’s most-used browser while also giving ways for users to stay sane.
Some PCs at home are used by more than one person, especially these days where work and school have moved indoors. Chrome has long had support for different users but the implementation has been rather crude and basic. In the latest version of Chrome, user profiles can choose their own theme color to easily differentiate one from another while also keeping browsing data like history, passwords, and bookmarks cleanly separated.
Tabs have also been in dire need of some control but there’s no escaping the fact that people love to have dozens of tabs open. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of tabs and also a waste of time going through them one by one. Thankfully, Tab Search is also coming to Chrome 89 after spending some time being exclusive to Chrome OS last year.
Although it’s actually late to the party, Chrome is starting to become an all-in-one web reading solution. The new Reading List, accessible through the same bookmarks system the browser has long offered, lets you collect a temporary of pages to revisit later while keeping them distinct from more permanent bookmarks. The available features so far seem very basic but it could very well be enough for some users who find services like Pocket, Feedly, and the like to be too much.
Chrome 89 also brings technologies like Web HID and Web NFC to stable releases. While those might not sound interesting for end users, they do enable a wider range of experiences that go beyond just browsing, like supporting additional input devices for games and web apps. In addition to new PWA requirements, this release primes Chrome to become an even better platform for creating and distributing those Progressive Web Apps.