Modern browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Opera, and of course Google Chrome are monster programs that can do amazing things. The days of Internet Explorer are long gone. You only have to consider the fact that Google used its web browser Chrome to develop a whole new operating system that runs Google powered laptops called Chromebooks, and rivals the likes of Windows and MacOS. This incredible feat has been made possible by Google’s policy of continually updating the Chrome browser.
It can be hard to keep up with all these updates, however, as they just keep coming. What use is a shiny new updated feature, if you don’t even know that it’s there. Well, that’s what we’re here for today. We’re going to walk you through all the new features that came to the Google Chrome web browser in 2019.
New Chrome features 2019
The Google Chrome web browser received a massive 7 updates in 2019 with the first, Chrome 72, landing in January and the last, Chrome 79, arriving just before the new year in December. Let’s look at all the best new Chrome features that these updates brought with them.
Default Flash blocker
Google has already said that it will remove the Flash plugin from Chrome towards the end of 2020. In 2019, however, Google put the impetus on users to activate Flash in Chrome by making the browser block the plugin by default. You can set the browser to ask you before blocking it, however, on each site you visit. To do so copy and paste chrome://settings/content/flash into the Chrome address bar.
Password checkup tool
Google has integrated a former Chrome plugin directly into the browser, meaning it is now available for all Chrome users. The feature will scan your passwords and then check them against known databases of leaked passwords. Basically, if any of your accounts and passwords have fallen victim to any of the massive data breaches you hear about all the time, Chrome will now tell you. To activate this feature copy and paste chrome://flags/#password-leak-detection into the Chrome address bar.
Send tabs to other devices
Chrome 77 introduced an interesting feature that allows users to send tabs to other devices that use the same Google account on Chrome. If you use the same Google account on Chrome across different devices, you can now right-click on any of your open tabs on Chrome for desktop and hit the Send to your devices option to see a list of devices you can share the tab with.
Copy and paste across devices
Another cool Chrome Sync feature that was introduced in 2019 is the clipboard synchronization feature across multiple devices. This new feature means you can copy something on one device and then paste it on another that is using the same Google account for Google Chrome. This feature came with Chrome 79, which means both devices will need to be updated to Chrome 79 before it will work. If you have two devices that qualify, however, you’ll be able to right-click anywhere on the webpage and then select Copy to (your device’s name).
Chrome backgrounds and themes
Another cool feature that landed with Chrome 77 is the Customize button you’ll find in the bottom-right corner of the Chrome homepage. Clicking this will give you a series of different customization options including Background, Colors & Themes, and Shortcuts. You can decide on the shortcuts Chrome will show on the homepage, pick from a whole host of interesting background images, and set different themes and color schemes for the browser.
The Dark Mode
Google split the Chrome Dark Mode roll-out over two separate updates with the Mac Dark Mode coming with Chrome 73 and the Windows Dark Mode coming with Chrome 74. Both operating systems now support Chrome’s Dark mode but there are no controls for this on the web browser itself. Instead, Chrome simply copies your system OS color scheme meaning if you’ve set your Mac or Windows system to run in Dark Mode then your Chrome browser will do too. The Chrome support page here shows you how to do so.
Tab info cards
A small but useful change is the introduction of tab info cards. All you need to do here is hover your cursor over an open tab and Chrome will show you the name of the site open on the tab, and its URL.
Dodgy site warning
Chrome’s password protection features were updated again when Chrome 79 landed. Chrome now offers real-time protection and will warn you whenever you enter your passwords on sites that are suspected of phishing.
Hardware support for media controls
Chrome now supports media control buttons on any hardware you have connected to your device. This means if you have a keyboard with a Play/Pause button, you can now use that button to control playback on any media that is active in Google Chrome. The same goes for other controls and other types of hardware such as headphones etc.
This updated feature might not sound too exciting, but it will actually make a big difference for laptop users. Basically, Chrome now automatically freezes tabs that you’ve had running in the background for a while. Chrome will no longer load ads or perform other CPU heavy tasks in tabs you’re not using, but will instead pause them and then resume them when you open them again. This is to put less pressure on your device’s CPU and then, accordingly, make your laptop’s battery last longer.
Chrome 75 introduced the built-in password manager to Android and iOS devices meaning Chrome can now generate and store strong and unique passwords for you every time you open a new online account. This is an incredibly useful and essential feature as any time you duplicate a password across different accounts you leave yourself vulnerable to hacking.