Google Chrome’s next big update, Chrome 79, has officially entered the beta phase, meaning the official public release will be here within the coming weeks—even though most of us have barely settled in with Chrome 78’s recent launch. Users can expect some cool new features once the update rolls out, including sharing text and links across multiple synced devices, new VR support, updated security, and even a new tool that should curb Chrome’s voracious appetite for system memory.
If you want to try out Chrome 79 early you can download and install the beta release, but for those who would rather wait for any lingering bugs to get squashed, here’s a preview of the biggest features coming in Chrome’s next big update.
Tab freezing: Desktop users are well aware of how much memory Chrome can eat up, but Chrome 79 will add a new “tab freezing” feature that prevents open tabs from performing new tasks after they’ve been in the background for more than five minutes (this won’t affect tabs playing media in the background, however). Chrome’s tab freezing feature will be available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS.
Cross-platform clipboard: Users logged into both Chrome desktop and the Chrome Android browser will be able to sync and share text between both devices using a new end-to-end encrypted clipboard menu. The feature will require users to have Chrome sync enabled.
New VR developer tools
The headlining feature in the official Chrome 79 announcement is a new virtual reality API that developers can use to create VR and AR-based web apps for smartphones and VR headsets.
How much this new feature will actually be seen by average Chrome users is up to how many websites, apps, and games are developed with it. That said, other browsers like Firefox Reality, Oculus Browser, Microsoft Edge, and Helio all support the new API as well, so there’s certainly the potential we could see more websites and applications with VR or AR features in the near future.
More privacy from DNS-over-HTTPS: Chrome 79 will finally be testing DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) to the browser for a small fraction of users. DoH is a more secure method of access a website since it protects the identity of the browser’s user (you can read more about it here). DoH was originally announced for Chrome 78 but has been bumped back to Chrome 79.
Updated security requirements for websites: It’s possible that users may notice that some websites that were previously considered safe will show up as “Not Secure” come Chrome 79. This is due to Chrome no longer supporting certain security protocols in an effort to get websites to adopt better security standards.
Aside from those big updates, there’s also a whole mess of more technical changes and smaller tweaks coming in Chrome 79. Most of these aren’t of much concern to the general user base, but they’re listed on the Chrome developer page for those who are curious.