Chrome 86 is another solid upgrade from Google. In addition to the usual improvements under the hood, Google Chrome 86 helps you quickly change vulnerable passwords and protect you from websites that waste your CPU resources (and battery power) in the background.
Google plans to release Chrome 86 on October 6, 2020. Chrome will automatically install the update or ask you to install it. If you do not want to wait, you can check for and install the update by clicking Menu> Help> About Google Chrome.
Easily reset vulnerable passwords
Google Chrome can check if your password is compromised and warns you about it. Starting with Chrome 86, there’s now a quick ‘Change Password’ button in Chrome’s Password Manager to help you change the leaked passwords. It takes you directly to the site’s password reset page and takes a lot of legwork out of the process.
This feature is only available for websites that support the “well-known password change URL” format introduced by Apple in Safari. Many websites have since adopted the feature.
Throttling the background tab
Originally planned to be included in Chrome 85, background tabs are available in Chrome 86. Tabs that are open in the background are ironed to a maximum of 1% CPU time after being inactive for five minutes or more.
Tabs are allowed to “wake up” once a minute in the background. This feature will hopefully improve performance when you have many tabs open at once. Google is constantly working to restrict CPU usage from open tabs.
Warn users of insecure forms on HTTPS pages
Secure HTTPS encryption is often used today, but less secure HTTP content is still displayed on secure pages over the Internet. Chrome 86 will start warning you when you enter information on an insecure website.
RELATED: What is HTTPS and why should I care?
Previously, Chrome displayed a lock icon in the address bar when you were on an HTTPS website. HTTPS websites that used HTTP forms would not display the lock icon, but Google decided that this was a vague way to display the alert. Chrome now displays a much more prominent message “This form is not secure” with red text below form fields.
If you submit a form that is not secure, you will see a confirmation page that warns you that “The information you are sending is not secure” and encourages you to return.
Improved focus marking
For people navigating Chrome with a keyboard or other assistive technology, the focus indicator highlights visual selection as you scroll through the page. The focus indicator makes it clear what you are choosing. Chrome 86 makes some improvements to this.
First, a new CSS selector allows developers to select the same focus indicator method as browser users. The second is a user setting called “High Focus Highlight.” This is a second focus indicator (above) that appears even if the page has disabled CSS focus styles.
Uniform icons in Chrome OS
A small change coming to Chrome OS 86 makes the app icons look more consistent. All app icons, whether they are Android apps, Chrome apps or Progressive web apps, will be round.
All apps that do not have a background are automatically placed on a round white icon. Most people will not notice this change, but it does make things look more consistent. It’s also in line with Google’s Pixel phones.
Android gets a new abundance menu
Speaking of Android, Chrome for Android gets a new flood menu in Chrome 86. First, it has all the entries in the many icons, making it more visual. Secondly, the menu has been divided into four sections, which compiles similar options.
Finally, the shortcuts at the top of the menu, presented only by icons, have a darker gray background that separates it from the other items. All these changes make the menu look a little nicer and the options are clearer.
Like every new version, Chrome 86 contains a lot of goodies for developers to take care of. Many times this is where the real changes take place. Google outlined many of the features of the Chromium blog and the web developer blog. Here are some highlights:
- WebHID API: The WebHID API enables device drivers to access old and unusual human interface devices (HIDs).
- Battery saving meta tag: Allows a website to recommend actions for the user to save battery life and optimize CPU usage.
- Native File System API: Developers can build web apps that interact with files on the user’s local device, such as IDE, photo and video editors, text editors, and more.