Google has today released Chrome 71, the latest version of the browser, a version primarily focused on strengthening Chrome's security mode.
There are quite a few updates on the security front in this new Chrome version, but one of the most important is that done in Chrome's built-in ad filtering system.
Announced in early November, last month, this update will improve Chrome's ability to detect sites that show off aggressive or misleading ads and pop-ups – as Google said, creates "abusive experiences" for Chrome users. We will not go over these changes in fine detail again, but for more details, readers can check out the ZDN's previous coverage here.
Secondly, even with Chrome 71
Google plans to display a notification warning – similar to that displayed for HTTPS errors – before users can access these types of sites.
But there is more. To prevent technology support from fraudulent sites from using the Speech Synthesis API to scare users to call shady technical support centers and pay for unnecessary technical support services, Google also has limited website's ability to "talk" after a page has been loaded.
Starting with Chrome 71, users must first interact with a website before a site can trigger a "talk" event. Google has been working to fix this issue for at least ten months, and while it will not stop technical support pages from audio recording, it will seriously hinder their efforts.
Further, another security-related change is the final removal of the Inline Installer API, a Chrome feature that allowed users to install Chrome extensions hosted on the official web store while navigating on other websites.
Google has previously disabled Chrome installs in Chrome 69, in September. The company's engineers are now completing the API depreciation process by removing the actual code that is responsible for this feature. This is a necessary last step to prevent sites from exploiting Chrome errors to launch unauthorized inline installations.
And last but not least, Chrome 71 also includes fixes for 43 security issues, detailed in depth here.
But in addition to security improvements, Chrome 71 also comes with many updates to the browser's underlying web API and CSS features. A summary of the most important changes is available below:
- Chrome now supports Microsoft's font for COLR / CPAL. This is the third format "color script" that Chrome will support, following CBDT / CBLC and SBIX. Color fonts are a new way to create and provide vector-based interactive fonts.
- The Web Audio API now follows user settings for audio auto setup settings. This means that when a user supports a website, Chrome will actually respect the user's desire. Google has initially rolled out audio autoplay mutation earlier this year, but engineers rolled back the change almost immediately because the new policy also broke many old web games. Having given developers time to adjust their websites and old web games, Google has now enabled the current feature.
The full details of all developer-centric changes are available in these two Google blog posts [1, 2] but also summarized in the video below:
With today's release, Chrome's new version is 71.0.3578.80. Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android users should be able to install the update using Chrome's built-in update program. The full Chrome 71 changelog is available here (slow load link).
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