- Google will be celebrating its 25th birthday later this month and Chrome has its 15th anniversary coming up.
- The web browser is set to get a makeover on the desktop along with new features for a quick and safe browsing process.
- You can now personalise your browser, discover extensions in the new Chrome Web Store, easily browse the web and more.
While Google will be hitting a quarter century soon, the Chrome web browser will turn 15 this month. Launched as the beta version for Windows XP in 2008, Google Chrome has been one of the most successful products of the company. The widely used web browser is all set to get a makeover with added features, ahead of its birthday celebrations. With a user-centric focus, they’ve made it easier for users to search and find fun themes and helpful extensions to stay productive at home or at work. Chrome Product Manager Hafsah Ismail and UX Designer Crystal Wang shared their views on the redesign and the work that went into it.
“While a lot has changed over the last 15 years, our original goal still holds true — to build a browser that’s fast, reliable, secure and easy to use. To celebrate this birthday, we’re giving Chrome a fresh look on desktop and rolling out a few upgrades that continue to make it easy, quick and safe to browse on Chrome,” Google said in its blog post. This year, Chrome achieved the fastest load speeds in benchmark tests. The company pushed toward HTTPS by default for stronger security, making it easier for people to manage and protect their passwords.
When asked what was the inspiration behind this makeover, Hafsah Ismail responded saying, “Chrome and the Web have evolved in remarkable ways. We now have extensions that unlock uncharted levels of productivity for developers or harness the power of generative AI to reshape work as we know it. It only felt natural to evolve the store to continue to meet the dynamic needs of users and developers in our ecosystem. Extensions and themes lie at the heart of a personalised Chrome experience, so it was a natural progression to give the store a fresh, contemporary look to align with this transformation.
Crystal Wang considers this project to be an amazing opportunity to redesign everything from the ground up. It was a collaborative team effort with product, research, writing, and more. “Our main goals were to modernize the UI and create a well-lit path for users to find high quality extensions and themes to make the web work better for them. Two key areas of the design I’m particularly proud of are the refreshed look and feel and global navigation and search,” he added.
Some of the new features include seamless global navigation and search, new categories based on user needs and lifestyle, a modern and expressive look & feel with Google’s latest design system – Material 3, and more. Instapaper, Noisli, Todoist for Chrome, and Asian & Pacific Islander Artist Theme Series are Hafsah and Crystal’s recent favourite additions to the store. Let’s dive into the other key updates to Chrome:
As a part of the redesign, Chrome will get refreshed icons with a focus on legibility and new colour palettes under the Material You design, which will complement the tabs and the toolbar. The aim of the colours is to help users distinguish between profiles, like work and personal accounts, in a single glance. Chrome also has better integration with operating systems, allowing it to easily adapt to OS-level settings like dark and light modes. Furthermore, improvements like a more comprehensive menu for faster access to Chrome extensions, Google Translate, Google Password Manager, etc. are incoming.
Chrome Web Store
The Material You style will be coming to the Chrome Web Store as well for easy discovery of extensions. The store will feature new extension categories, including AI-powered extensions, Editors’ spotlight as well as personalised recommendations. “On the security front, the company has expanded Safety Check to extensions so Chrome can help identify extensions in the store that were recently unpublished, in violation of our policies, or potentially malicious,” the company added.
Google Safe Browsing in Chrome is a feature that protects users by flagging dangerous sites and files. Previously, it worked by checking every site visited against a locally stored list of known bad sites, which is updated every 30 to 60 minutes. Since phishing domains have gotten more sophisticated, the company is upgrading Safe Browsing so it will now check sites against Google’s known-bad sites in real-time, without sharing your browsing history with Google.
“By shortening the time between identification and prevention of threats, we expect to see 25% improved protection from malware and phishing threats. If you want even more protection, you can always turn on Safe Browsing’s Enhanced Protection mode, which continues to block new attacks with AI, provide a deep scan for files, and offer extra protection from malicious Chrome extensions,” the company said.
AI-Powered Google Search
The company recently launched capabilities that enable users to access information and search tools as they browse. They said that its generative AI capabilities on Search are now available for people to test on the desktop. This experiment can help you better navigate information on the web and quickly find what you’re looking for on a web page. The “Explore on page” feature will now show users answers to questions on an article and links that will take them to the exact part of the article where they’re answered on the page.
Google thanked their users for the last 15 years in its blog post. With so much to explore on the web, they promised to keep making improvements like these so users can easily and safely find what they need. We look forward to experiencing these upcoming Chrome updates.