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Chrome 79 beta: Tab freezing, shared clipboard, DNS-over-HTTPS trial

Following version 78’s release on Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux, the next beta release of Google’s browser is rolling out. The Chrome 79 beta features tab freezing on desktops to conserve resources, shared clipboard, and a trial of DNS-over-HTTPS.

A new “tab freezing” feature in Chrome 79 works to save memory, CPU, and battery life. This feature is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux browsers, as well as Chrome OS. Tabs that have been in the background for over five minutes will be frozen and not able to perform tasks. There is an exception for audio and video, while sites can experimentally opt out.

Google is working on a shared clipboard between computers and Android that’s available from the right-click menu. Copied text can be shared on devices that are logged into the same Google Account and have Chrome Sync enabled. Text is end-to-end encrypted and Google notes how it can’t see the contents. It began rolling out earlier this month for a “limited number of users” and will be “released to all users in a future version of Chrome.”

Originally planned for the previous release, Chrome 79 will feature an experiment for 1% of users that enables secure DNS connections with DNS-over-HTTPS. This prevents user tracking and malicious redirects. A new flag allows you to opt out of the DoH test: chrome://flags/#dns-over-https.

Chrome will check if the user’s DNS provider is among a list of participating DoH-compatible providers and if so, it will enable DoH. If the DNS provider is not on the list, Chrome won’t enable DoH and will continue to operate as it does today.

Chrome will begin marking sites that use TLS 1.0 or 1.1 as “Not Secure” and remove the lock symbol. This measures starts in January 2019 as Google encourages sites to move away from legacy TLS.

The WebXR Device API is now shipping in Chrome, and allows developers to create web-based virtual reality experiences for smartphones and head-mounted displays. This spec will soon be supported by Firefox Reality, Oculus Browser, Edge, and the Magic Leap Helio browser for a consistent experience. Moving forward, the API will allow for augmented reality and other rich interactive experiences.

Progressive Web Apps help online experiences feel like any native client. A part of this is appearing in the launcher and getting a homescreen icon. On Android, Chrome 79 allows adaptive icons to “automatically mask irregularly shaped icons to fit properly” and not just be circular.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

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