It’s been 10 years since Google introduced the first version of its Chrome web browser. Since then it’s become the world’s most popular desktop browser, and it ships on millions of Android smartphones.
New versions of Chrome are released every six weeks, but some updates are bigger than others. Google timed some pretty big changes to coincide with the browser’s big birthday.
The browser is getting some significant visual tweaks and a few functional ones as well.
The most noticeable change is probably the updated user interface. Browser tabs now have rounded corners. Google says the shape makes it easier to see website icons when you have a bunch of tabs open. Chrome for iOS now has a navigation toolbar at the bottom of the screen. And the colors and icons have been updated, among other things.
Chrome’s omnibox is also getting new features. The browser was one of the first to use a single box for searches and URLs rather than two separate boxes. And as you type it can already show auto-complete suggestions. Starting today you’ll also see answers to some questions as you type.
Want to know how tall an athlete is, what country a city is in, or the definition of a word? Short snippets that fit in the auto-complete are may show up along with search query suggestions. Other things that should work are weather-related questions or foreign language word translations.
If you have a bunch of websites open in existing browser tabs, searching for a page in the omnibox can also take you to an already-open tab rather than opening a page in a new tab. Just choose the “Switch to tab” option. Google plans to add support for searching your Google Drive documents from the Omnibox in the future.
Google is also updating the password manager and autofill features. The browser can generate a secure password for you when you create an account on a website, and it will be saved to your account so you can login using Chrome on any PC or mobile device.
Personally I prefer to use a third-party password manager for this functionality so that I can access my passwords using Firefox, Opera, Edge, or other browsers. But for folks that are using Chrome exclusively, it’s a nice feature to have.