Google has released today Chrome 74 for Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android users. While each new version comes with new features and bug fixes, the main new addition in today's release is, by far, the support for a Dark Mode for Windows users.
Mac users have already been enjoying Chrome's Dark Mode feature since last month, since the release of Chrome 73.
For users looking to enable this new Dark Mode, the bad news is that there is still no option in the Chrome settings section to do so.
Just like for Mac users, if Windows users want to enable Chrome's Dark Mode they'll have to modify the operating system's skin to use "Dark" setting, and Chrome will automatically switch to a Dark Mode, along with the OS.
This means that users can't use the Chrome Dark Mode independently from the OS skin, which can be quite the annoyance since most users like to control the look of every app instead of relying on system-wide settings.
The rest of the new features added in Chrome 74 are all web-dev related. Of the things that Google engineers have removed from Chrome 74, the most important are security-related.
Starting with this release, Google has deprecated file downloads initiated from sandboxed iframes, a common method used for malware distributed via ad slots (malvertising).
Second, Google engineers have also removed a website's ability to open a new tab when the current page is being closed. This trick had been abused over the past few years by the operators of ad farms and tech support scams, and Google has been trying to fix this problem for more than a year, but with little success, as fraudsters keep finding new ways of duplicating tabs to keep users on their shady sites.
Lite mode replaces Data Saver
A non-security related removal is Chrome for Android's "Data Saver" feature. Starting with Chrome 74 for Android, this has been replaced with a new data-saving mechanism that Google calls "Lite mode."
Details about how Lite mode works are still private, but in a blog post today Google promised to publish a whitepaper with more information in the upcoming future.
Lite mode will only be available on Chrome for Android, and the old Chrome Data Saver desktop extension will be deprecated starting Chrome 74.
Some additional reading material about today's Chrome 74 release:
- Chrome security updates are detailed here.
- Chromium open-source browser changes are detailed here.
- Google engineers detail some of the most important developer-centric changes here.
- All the Chrome 74 developer-centric deprecations and feature removals are here.
- Chrome for Android updates are detailed here.
More browser coverage:
- NoScript extension officially released for Google Chrome
- Internet Explorer zero-day lets hackers steal files from Windows PCs
- Microsoft Edge for iOS and Android adds single sign-in
- Former Mozilla exec: Google has sabotaged Firefox for years
- Opera 60 released with a built-in cryptocurrency wallet
- Google Chrome to get a Reader Mode
- What enterprises need to know about the new Chromium-based Edge TechRepublic
- Google's most secure login system now works on Firefox and Edge, too CNET