Chrome 93 is all about convenience, progressive web apps, and glimpses of Material You (APK Download)


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Google has released Chrome 93 to the stable channel, and it should start to roll out to your phone and computer as we speak. We're in for quite a few changes, with Material You design elements, new flags to try, better cross-platform communication when it comes to SMS OTP codes, prettier (or at least more useful) windows for web apps, and much more. Here's a rundown of all the changes we spotted.

Glimpses of Material You

Chrome 93 is all about convenience, progressive web apps, and glimpses of Material You (APK Download) Chrome 93 is all about convenience, progressive web apps, and glimpses of Material You (APK Download) Chrome 93 is all about convenience, progressive web apps, and glimpses of Material You (APK Download)

When you activate the right flags (chrome:flags#theme-refactor-android andchrome:flags#dynamic-color-android), you'll get the first few Material You elements in Chrome 93 on Android 12. In settings, you'll see a subtle shade of your wallpaper's main color as the background of the top bar, and tabs in the tab overview are more rounded and use colors from your wallpaper. A few more places are also based on the extracted colors, like text highlights and toggles. There's much more to come in Chrome 94, though.

Horizontal Google Search strip

Google recently announced some Chrome Beta experiments, and a few of them are also available in the stable release. There's the so-called Continuous Search Navigation that you can enable by navigating to chrome:flags/#continuous-search. The experiment gives you an option to view your Google Search results in a strip below the address bar, mitigating the need to navigate back to open another result. We've got more details on this in our post over here.

Chrome 93 is all about convenience, progressive web apps, and glimpses of Material You (APK Download)

Fancy quote sharing cards

Another experiment that we spotted earlier in the beta allows you to send stylized text cards when you want to share quotes from your favorite articles. They look a bit like text posts in Instagram stories, but they really do make for a prettier experience. You can enable this under chrome:flags/#webnotes-stylize. Once that's done, the option to create a card will appear in the Chrome share menu when you highlight text and hit the share button.

Chrome 93 is all about convenience, progressive web apps, and glimpses of Material You (APK Download)

Cross-device support for OTP codes

Google is giving developers all tools needed to make SMS-based two-factor authentication via one-time codes (OTPs) much less of a hassle. When you're signed into the same Google account on your phone and your desktop installation of Chrome 93, you'll be able to seamlessly paste SMS OTP codes from your phone to your desktop for supported sites. Of course, SMS isn't the most secure method when it comes to OTP, but it's still better than nothing, and making it less of a hassle to use is worth a lot.

https://www.androidpolice.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/30/iUUGcawm8LJpGH3PFxNZ.mp4

You can test this for yourself on web-otp-demo.glitch.me by sending yourself an SMS with the exact words listed on the site (yes, I was also surprised to learn that it's possible to send SMS messages to oneself). Just make sure you've got all pre-requisites in place. Now, you'll just have to wait for your bank or credit union to support this sometime in 2032.

PWAs as URL handlers

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are about to feel even more like native apps on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Chrome 93 is starting a test that lets developers declare web apps as URL handlers. For example, if you're using Twitter as a PWA created in Chrome, all twitter.com links could automatically open in the dedicated PWA interface, further bridging the gap between native applications and web apps. This could be especially handy for Gmail, I reckon. On Android, this feature has been available for a while as part of the WebAPK install method.

To experiment with this, you'll need to activate the chrome://flags/#enable-desktop-pwas-url-handling flag, though there will likely only be a few or even no apps to support this at the moment.

Prettier PWAs incoming

You know how some desktop apps like the Microsoft Office suite and many Apple apps take advantage of extra space available in their system title bars? Chrome PWAs could soon also take advantage of that thanks to a new Window Controls Overlay API. It allows developers to utilize the space in the title bar and populate it with a search bar, playback controls, and anything else they can think of.

Chrome 93 is all about convenience, progressive web apps, and glimpses of Material You (APK Download)

Yes, this is Google's example. I'm serious.

This feature is expected to go stable in Chrome 94, and if it's widely adopted, it could make PWAs feel so much more native.

Better multi-screen support for web apps

Slideshows, presentations, and other multi-screen or multi-window experiences are about to get better thanks to an experiment started in Chrome 93. A new Multi-Screen Window Placement API will allow developers to place windows in precise locations on multiple screens, allowing you to view your speaker notes on your laptop's screen while showing your presentation on the projector (for example). Google also gives multi-window graphics editors like GIMP or virtual trading desks as examples for multi-window experiences that could benefit from this. It will likely take a while until web apps take advantage of this capability, but it's something to look forward to.

More changes

A collection of developer-focused changes in Chrome 93.

Here are a few more changes incoming that we already covered in depth before and that are mostly still hidden behind flags:

  • Recently closed menu improvements: Starting in Chrome 93, you can restore individual pages from recently closed tabs groups. This can be enabled under chrome:flags/#tab-restore-sub-menus.
  • Separating bookmarks and the reading list: Google has added a flag that lets you separate bookmark creation from adding sites to your reading list.
  • Sidebar for bookmarks and the reading list: Speaking of which, Chrome 93 for desktops has another flag that lets you activate a handy sidebar with your bookmarks and reading list. Here's all you need to know.
  • Send tab to self improvements: Chrome 93 changes how tab sharing works across your Chrome installations, forgoing system notifications on many platforms. Read all about that here.
  • New widgets for Android: Chrome 93 for Android has some new widgets hidden behind a flag that sure look like they're inspired by their iOS counterparts. Read more about this here.
  • WebXR Plane Detection API: Augmented and virtual reality applications are now able to retrieve data about planes present in your surroundings, which allows developers to create more immersive and realistic experiences.

Chrome 93 is the last version to be released on Google's six-week cycle. Starting with Chrome 94, which is slated to go stable on September 21, new versions will come to us every four weeks, so expect version numbers to change even faster going forward.

You can download the new Chrome release on the Play Store or over at APK Mirror. If you go for the latter route on Android 10 and above, don't forget to install the corresponding Trichrome Library, too.

Stable launch

This post previously covered the beta launch of Chrome 93 and has been updated to cover the stable release, with a few more tweaks and details forthcoming from Google.