What’s New in Chrome 77, Arriving Today

The New Chrome 77 tab page with a nice background image and a browser theme.

Chrome 77 is available on the stable channel on September 10, allowing easy customization of Chrome. Forget downloading themes: you can apply your favorite colors to the Chrome browser toolbars in a few clicks from the New Tab page.

Background and Theme Controls in the New Tab Page

UPDATE: This update has apparently not been included in the original version of Chrome 77. We do not know yet why it was extracted at the last moment nor when (or if) it will be added, but we will keep you informed.

Older versions of Chrome allow you to customize your New Tab page, but Chrome 77 offers even more options. To find these options, click on "Customize" in the lower right corner of the New Tab page.

Customize the option on the Chrome New Tab page

The Background section allows you to select a beautiful background image or download your own. There is a new "Refresh Daily" option that will automatically change the background of the New Tab page each day.

Background options for the new Chrome 77 tab.

The Shortcuts section allows you to choose the icons to display on the New Tab page: the ones you select or the most visited websites. You can also choose "Hide Shortcuts" to not see any website shortcuts on this page.

Choose shortcuts to display on the New Chrome tab page.

The Color and Theme section allows you to create a custom browser theme. Choose a combination of two colors here or use the color picker to select yours. They will be used both for the background of the New Tab page and for the Chrome browser toolbar. Previously, this required the installation of a theme from the Chrome Web Store.

Choose a color and theme for the Chrome browser.

Hide the EV indicator

Comparison of EV indicators under Chrome 76 and Chrome 77.

the Extended Validation Indicator (EV) moves in Chrome. At the moment, some websites have special extended validation certificates that Chrome and other browsers display differently. For example, when you access paypal.com, a text "PayPal, Inc." appears next to the lock to the left of the site address in Chrome Omnibox.

In Chrome 77, these additional texts disappear and you will simply see a lock icon. You can still see the name of the company for which the certificate was issued, but you must first click the lock icon.

Google's Devon O'Brien Explain, "The Chrome Security UX team determined that the UI EV did not protect users as expected." Users do not seem to notice this feature or make a different decision if it is present. He may even present confusing and misleading company names. Apple has already made this change to Safari in June 2018.

A new welcome screen

The new Chrome Welcome screen.

If you are installing Chrome on a new system or just creating a new user account in Chrome, a new Home screen will prompt you to "customize your Chrome" the first time you open the browser. This simply replaces the New Tab page when you first use Chrome. So you can ignore it if you wish. You can even access it anytime – just plug chrome: // welcome / into Chrome Omnibox.

Follow the instructions in the wizard and Chrome will prompt you to pinpoint shortcuts to your New Tab page, select its background, and set Chrome as the default browser.

Web site contact selector

Google is constantly adding new web features to Chrome. These are not intended for you, they are intended for Web developers who create websites. You will never notice many of these features until they appear on Web pages. They make the Web faster, more powerful and more secure.

New Contact Picker API is an example of a feature that makes the Web more powerful. A website will ask you for your contacts and Chrome will allow you to select contacts from your device's address book to assign to the site. It is currently available in an "original test", which means that only a few approved websites can test it.

It sounds like it's only phones, but it could also be used on the desktop. For example, the contacts picker can pull contacts from the Contacts app in Windows 10 or even your Google contacts.

It's even more private than giving an Android or iPhone application to your contacts. Chrome sees all your contacts and gives you a list. Only the contacts you have chosen are transferred to the website. The website can not see all your contacts.

Google Assistant on multiple Chromebooks

Google Assistant over a Chrome OS taskbar.

It seems that Google Assistant is about to offer more Chromebooks. The Google Assistant first arrived on Chrome OS with the release of the Pixelbook two years ago. Google has tested the activation of the wizard on other Chromebooks. In fact, there is a hidden flag that enable an experimental feature of Google Assistant on all Chromebooks from Chrome 76.

With Chrome 77, this indicator is now enabled by default. The Google Assistant should work on many other Chromebooks. However, as 9to5Google points out that this flag still does not seem to activate Google Assistant on all Chromebooks.

In any case, Google Assistant will be enabled by default on many other Chrome OS devices running Chrome OS 77.

Technical material

Much of Google's work on every Chrome update is invisible. This simply enhances Chrome and the web you use.

For example, Google has incorporated a new "Enter Key Hint" attribute into Chrome. This allows a website to customize the action that appears on the Enter key on the touchpad when a user interacts with the keyboard. For example, if you type a message, you can see a "send" key. If you search online, you may see a "search" button.

All the technical details on Chrome 77 (up to the difference between PaymentRequest and web developers, Google limiting Chrome's SEO referrer headers to 4k maximum, and more) are available on Google Chrome Blog.

Chrome will automatically install the update when it becomes available and prompt you to restart your browser. To speed things up, you can manually find an update by clicking menu> Help> About Google Chrome.

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