Google Chrome celebrates 15 years with a fresh look and enhanced features


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What just happened? It's all changing at Google. Fresh from unveiling a new look and alternative mascots for the Android operating system brand, the company's massively popular browser, Chrome, is getting a revamp and extra features to celebrate its 15th birthday.

Google's visual update for Chrome is based on the tech giant's Material You design language. Chrome VP Parisa Tabriz promises refreshed icons with a focus on legibility and new color palettes that better complement users' tabs and toolbar. The browser will also adapt to light and dark modes based on which one your operating system is using, thanks to Chrome's improved OS integration.

Chrome is also getting some improvements that should make the browser easier to use, including a more comprehensive menu for faster access to Chrome extensions, Google Translate, Google Password Manager and more.

The Material You design language is also coming to the Chrome Web Store. Beyond the modernized interface, Google is introducing new extension categories such as AI-powered extensions and Editors' spotlight - much like the Android Play Store - alongside more personalized recommendations. You can check out a preview page of the new look here.

Rogue Chrome extensions remain an issue on the store – researchers recently created a proof-of-concept Chrome extension that is capable of stealing plaintext passwords from the HTML source codes of virtually any website. Google is trying to address these dangers with an expanded Safety Check to extensions so Chrome can help identify extensions in the store that were recently unpublished, in violation of its policies, or potentially malicious.

The final elements mentioned in the post are the new Search features and Safe Browsing. With the former, users can select the 'Search this page with Google' option via the three-dot menu to open the Google Search Side panel, offering extra context on whatever you might be looking at. You can also pin the Google Search side panel to your toolbar.

Safe browsing is also being updated. It previously flagged dangerous sites and files by checking each one visited against a locally-stored list of known bad sites, which is updated every 30 to 60 minutes. But 60% of phishing domains exist for less than 10 minutes, making them hard to block. With the upgrade, Safe Browsing does its checks in real-time. Google says the update will roll out in the coming weeks, and it expects to see 25% improved protection from malware and phishing threats.

Google has just given the Android brand a makeover, too, introducing an updated logo and alternative bugdroids.

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