Google Chrome 89 offers integration between Android phones and Chrome OS, better support for in-browser gamepads, NFC for web apps and native web sharing. It will be released sometime today, March 2, 2021.
Chrome OS Phone Hub for Android devices
Google has been working on a “Phone Hub” for Chrome OS for some time now. Its functionality is similar to Microsoft’s “Your Phone” app on Windows 10. You can link your Android device and sync notifications, view recent tabs, and more.
Currently, the Phone Hub can be turned on manually via a Chrome flag. Some people have already seen it in Chrome 88, but it should work even better in Chrome 89. You may see it without enabling anything after Chrome OS 89 is installed.
RELATED: How to Enable Chrome OS’s Android Phone Hub Now
WebHID enabled by default
Browsers use the same HID protocol as the operating system. An unusual HID device, such as a complex gamepad, may need custom logic to work properly in a browser. This API is now enabled by default and should improve things.
RELATED: What is a Human Interface Device (HID)?
Web apps can use NFC
Chrome 89 on Android enables “Web NFC” by default. This means that web apps can now read and write Near Field Communications (NFC) tags. Usually only native apps have been able to do this. Here’s an example website that can scan and write NFC tags.
The video above from Google shows a website interacting with NFC tags using Chrome’s Web NFC API.
RELATED: What is NFC (Near Field Communication) and what can I use it for?
Native web sharing on the desktop
It is common to see social network buttons on websites that allow you to share the page with ease, but you are limited to the social sites listed. Chrome 89 brings Windows and Chrome OS sharing on the web closer to what you see on Android.
If a site supports the new Internet sharing, the share button will open a native share menu. That way you can share the link with any apps on your device that support it. You’re not just limited to a Facebook and Twitter button.
Drop support for old processors
Starting with Chrome 89, the browser no longer supports older x86 processors that do not meet the new requirements. Devices must at least comply with SSE3 (additional streaming SIMD extensions 3).
This shouldn’t be a problem for the vast majority of devices running Chrome 89. Processors have supported SSE3 for nearly 15 years. If you have one of these devices, you are stuck in Chrome 88. Here is an example website that supports it.
Goodies for developers
Chrome 89 is especially heavy on the under-the-hood improvements and developer goodies. You can read about many of these changes on the developer site and the Chromium blog. We explain a few changes here:
- Debugging support for trusted type violations: Developers can set breakpoints and catch exceptions for trusted type violations from the Resources panel.
- Capture node screenshot outside viewport: It is now possible to take screenshots for an entire node and the contents under the folder from the Elements panel.
- New Trust Tokens tab for network requests: A new API called “Trust Token” can help combat fraud and distinguish bots from real people without passive tracking.
- Lighthouse 7 is now executed on the lighthouse panel.
- AVIF picture decoding: Chrome can now load native AVIF content with AVI decoders on Android and Webview.
- Cross-origin opener policy reporting API: A new API allows sites to track usage across domains.
- Forced color property: The new CSS media query with forced color allows sites to detect if the device is set to high contrast display mode.
Chrome will automatically install the update on your device when it is available. To immediately check for and install available updates, click the menu> Help> About Google Chrome.
RELATED: Update Google Chrome