Chrome 64 was just released to the general public, which means Chrome Beta has bumped up to version 65. This new update includes the ad blocker that is expected to go live on February 15, as well as some security enhancements and minor new developer features. Without further ado, let's get into it.
Google shocked the tech community last year, when it announced that Chrome would include an ad blocker. But instead of outright blocking all advertising, Chrome would only disable ads on sites not following the Better Ads Standards. In other words, if a site was showing full-page ads, large sticky ads, and other types of intrusive advertising, Chrome's blocker would kick in.
The blocker has been available in Chrome Canary and Dev for months, but this is the first time it has appeared in the Beta channel. This likely means that Google will ship the feature in the stable Chrome 65 release, which lines up with the original "early 2018" launch window.
The feature won't actually start working until February 15, according to a blog post from December.
Chrome 65 includes two security-related improvements worth mentioning. When adding links to web pages, developers can use an optional 'download' attribute, which tells the browser to download the link instead of trying to open it. Starting with Chrome 65, these will no longer work if the link is to another site, as a security precaution.
In addition, Chrome 65 includes support for version 1.3 of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. TLS is the protocol that web browsers use to security connect to HTTPS websites, and version 1.3 is currently a working draft. Firefox added TLS 1.3 support in March 2017, but it's disabled by default due to compatibility issues.
Although not entirely a security feature, Chrome 65 Beta now blocks screenshots on incognito tabs. When attempting to take a screenshot, Android will show an alert saying 'Taking screenshots isn't allowed by the app or your organization.' That's the same message that appears when trying to take a screenshot in the Netflix app.
Like always, Chrome 65 includes changes for both users and developers. Here are some smaller features that ship with this update.
- The Web Authentication API is included in Chrome 65, but you have to enable a flag to try it out.
- The :any-link CSS pseudo-class is enabled by default.
- The CSS Paint API allows pages to programmatic ally generate an image and reference it in CSS styles.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.