When it comes to launching new Chrome versions, Google moves at a breakneck speed. As a result, the company has already released Chrome 99 as a beta, just a few weeks after introducing Chrome 98 to the stable channel. This time, a lot of changes are taking place behind the scenes for developers, but only a few fascinating features will be accessible to the rest of us.
Desktop users will benefit from a new download workflow
When you need to download things from the web, your browser is the application to use, but Chrome has gone out of its way in the past to bury quick access to all of your downloads in the top right overflow menu. However, it appears that the company is considering a design similar to Microsoft Edge in the future. A more visible download shortcut could soon be added to the right of the address bar, next to the overflow menu. This has yet to go live by default, so it may not make it in time for Chrome 99’s stable launch, but the groundwork is in place for it.
API for handwriting recognition
Google intends to complete an older experiment, which began with Chrome 91 and involved a built-in handwriting recognition API. It will make it easier for developers to develop note-taking or drawing apps because they won’t have to rely on third-party integrations. There are already a plethora of APIs available, but many of them are system-specific, so having a single standard that works across platforms is a huge benefit. However, for the time being, the handwritten API is only available on desktop Chrome.
Manifest V2 is being phased out
The company wants to change the way content blockers (also known as ad blockers) function in the Chrome browser. Although Google claims that the change is being implemented to lower the amount of resources consumed by content blockers, many developers believe that the change is being made to make ad blockers less efficient. In any case, while existing browser extensions will be able to use the old technique until next year, Google is no longer allowing new extensions to utilize the so-called Manifest V2 – instead, they must use Manifest V3, which only permits for smaller blocklists.
New changes to come
Chrome 99 improves international date formatting, making it convenient for developers to localize content (and maybe clearing up some ambiguity between dd/mm/yy and mm/dd/yy).
Chrome 99 Beta is now rolling on the Google Play Store. You can get it there, but you can also get it through APK Mirror.