Chrome 78 for Mac, Windows rolling out: New tab overlays, click-to-call, and more

Google is rolling out the latest version of Chrome for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Chrome 78 readies customization options for the New Tab page, a nifty click-to-call feature, and new tab overlays.

Announced last month, Chrome will soon get more customization options than just adding a background to the New Tab page or using a theme from the Chrome Web Store. Accessible from the same “Customize” button in the bottom-right corner of the New Tab page, the “Background” option remains unchanged. Google offers a gallery or you can upload an image. “Shortcuts” refer to the grid of website favicons just under the search bar. There are three possibilities:

  • My shortcuts: Shortcuts are suggested based on websites you visit often
  • Most visited sites: Shortcuts are curated by you
  • Hide shortcuts: Don’t show shortcuts on this page

“Color and theme” lets you choose one of 23 preset themes, or launch a color picker to select your own and have Chrome create one. This feature is not yet widely rolled out.

Chrome is getting another cross-device sharing feature after “Send this page” widely rolled in September. With “click-to-call,” you can right-click or highlight a phone number/link — like tel:800-800-8000 —  to have it sent to your Android phone. A Chrome notification will appear and a tap dials the number. This functionality may not be widely available yet.

Google has redesigned the UI that appears when you hover over a tab. Instead of a thin strip of text, there is now a bubble overlay underneath the favicon. The page name and domain are much larger and instantaneously pops up in a consistent position. Google plans to add preview thumbnails in a future update.

Google’s Password Checkup extension from February will soon be integrated with Chrome 78. It warns of compromised third-party logins during sign-in. A red Safe Browsing-like dialogue prompt will appear to advise users to change their password. This feature works without Google becoming aware of plain-text credentials.

If we detect that a username and password on a site you use is one of over 4 billion credentials that we know have been compromised, the extension will trigger an automatic warning and suggest that you change your password.

Chrome is cleaning up chrome://flags starting with version 78. The stated reason for enterprise customers is how policies are a better way to configure the browser. “Many flags” will be removed going forward, but this should not significantly impact regular users.

Chrome 78 for desktops is available now, with Android and Chrome OS following in the coming weeks.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: