It may seem like Google just released Chrome 93 to the stable channel, but with the company’s faster four-week release cycle, Chrome 94 stable is now already available for download. You can get it from APK Mirror or wait for it to be deployed to you on the Play Store. Even though only four weeks have passed, the new version contains many updates and changes to the interface under the hood.

Hardware you change for Chrome on Android

As we already detailed in detail when we first spotted it in the Canary Channel, Chrome 94 comes with a whole host of sleek changes from Material You to Android 12. The new visual identity aims to unify the look. app design on Android 12 and get its color from your wallpaper. by default, which is why Chrome might not look the same on two phones in the future. The adjustments are visible on the new tab page, address bar, and tab selector, but you need to enable two flags for the changes to show: chrome: flags # dynamic-color-android and chrome: flags # theme-refactor-android.

From left to right: Homepage; Chrome home page; Search for the Chrome home page.

Chrome 93 was the first release to add some Material You tweaks, but the iteration of Chrome 94 looks a lot more complete, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Google added these design elements in a few more places like settings, various menus and the sharing sheet.

New System Pages Design for Desktop Chrome

Google is also working on a small overhaul for the Chrome desktop. When you activate the chrome: flags # webui-branding-update flag, you will see refreshed Chrome system pages like settings, history, etc.

The tweaks are part of Google’s WebUI update, a generic design term that Google uses for parts of Chrome’s interface and web technologies like HTML and JavaScript. If the look is familiar, it’s because Chrome OS recently received a similar makeover, with Google removing the blue top bar in favor of an all-white design that’s more easily customizable.

You can see more details and examples on our dedicated redesign coverage.

Remedies for those who hate tab groups

Google’s introduction of tab groups on Chrome mobile has been controversial to say the least, with many users practically revolting against the change and wanting a way to get rid of forced groups altogether. While Chrome 94 doesn’t do exactly that, it’s easier to avoid using tab groups when you just want to open a link in a new tab. The browser adds an “Open in a new tab” shortcut to the long-press menu, which now coexists with the “Open in a new tab in group” option.

HTTPS mode only optional

Chrome 94 introduces an optional toggle under Settings -> Privacy and security which allows you to always use secure connections. The feature automatically upgrades all available HTTP connections to the much more secure HTTPS standard and, if a website does not support it, prevents it from loading. Instead, Chrome will display a banner warning you that the HTTP connection is not secure and encourage you not to visit the website in question, although you can still ignore this warning by tapping “Learn More.”, the home of the very first website, does not support HTTPS, which makes sense.

This behavior is part of Chrome HTTPS-First mode, which will eventually become the browser’s default value. In a similar vein, Google is experimenting with removing the lock icon for HTTPS sites, as many people think that means what they are visiting is a trusted site, even if that is not true. You can read more about this topic here.

Inactivity detection in the desktop version

The desktop version of Chrome 94 comes with a controversial new feature: inactivity detection. The API notifies developers when a user is inactive, “indicating items such as lack of interaction with keyboard, mouse, screen, activation of a screen saver, locking of screen or switching to another screen “. Google’s motivation behind this feature is collaborative apps, which the company says need more clues as to whether a user is inactive or not.

The developers of Firefox and Safari find the API harmful or negative, however, with concerns over user monitoring and control. The feature could be misused to monitor usage patterns and manipulate them accordingly. A Mozilla developer writes, “I consider the Idle Detection API to be too tempting an opportunity for websites motivated by surveillance capitalism to invade an aspect of a user’s physical privacy, from keeping records to long-term physical behaviors of users, to discern daily rhythms (eg, lunchtime) and to use that for proactive psychological manipulation (eg, hunger, emotion, choice). “

Either way, Chrome 94 enables the inactivity detection API by default.

Latency and decoding improvements

As shared by the Chromium team, the browser adds support for a new WebCodecs API This makes it easier for developers to work with audio and video decoders and encoders, which should lead to significant improvements in latency-sensitive gaming and transcoding without requiring the additional network and CPU constraint that would come with applications based on it. JavaScript. This new API has been in testing for some time, but Chrome 94 is the first version of the browser to enable it by default.

Protection of private browsing

Google is working hard to let you lock your private browsing tabs with your phone screen lock or biometric data, but even though there is an indicator, the feature is not working in Chrome 94 yet. Will come back once there is more on this.

Smaller changes

  • While not necessarily related to Chrome 94, but rather an Android System WebView update, Chrome is finally starting to work with Android 12’s new hover animation with its new rubber band effect.
  • Chrome 94 introduces new scheduling APIs that should lead to smoother and more responsive web apps.
  • The browser comes with an API to manipulate the raw media output from cameras, microphones, and screenshots, which helps enhance machine learning applications.

As always, Google has also released a developer video explaining everything that has changed under the hood. You can watch it on YouTube or read the detailed rundown here.

Chrome 94 is currently rolling out to the Play Store, but you can also download it from APK Mirror if you want to activate the new design for yourself immediately. Next in line is Chrome 95, which is expected to roll out to the beta channel in the next few days and become stable in mid-October.

Stable launch

The article has been updated to reflect the stable version of Chrome 94. It previously covered the launch of the beta.

Google Chrome: fast and secure
Google Chrome: fast and secure