Google updates Chrome like clockwork. Every month you can expect a new version of the browser, with new features and changes that we can all enjoy. Chrome 107, in particular, focuses the changes on Chromebooks, with ChromeOS 107 including a Stage Manager-like camera function and the ability to shut down your laptop without putting it to sleep.
New features in Chrome 107
First, let’s take a look at Chrome 107, Google’s latest update for the web browser you’re probably using right now. How-To Geek’s Joe Fedewa took a look under the hood to see what new features and changes you can expect when you hit that “Update” button. That said, this update was relatively light.
Google’s new CDM has officially arrived
Chrome 107 is the first version of the browser to include Google’s new Content Decryption Module (CDM). In short, a CDM is what allows DRM-restricted content to play in a browser. Without the CDM, you wouldn’t be able to watch services like Netflix because they couldn’t verify that you’re eligible to watch their content.
Chrome and Chromium browsers currently use the Widevine CDM, but it will soon be retired in favor of Google’s new version. Chrome 107 is the start of this rollout, while other Chromium browsers will receive the updated CDM on November 15. By December 6, the existing Widevine CDM will no longer work; be sure to update your browser by then to continue watching DRM content on the web.
User agent reduction
Google walks with sound user-agent reduction plan. User agent thinning aims to reduce the amount of user data in the “user agent string”, which typically allows servers and networks to see your application, operating system version, and other information. identification. Trackers can use this information for fingerprinting, in which they create profiles of you to track you throughout your browsing activity.
With Chrome 107, Google entered “Phase 5” of this plan. The big takeaway for us is that this update helps protect our online identities a little better.
New Features in ChromeOS 107
With this update cycle, Google has shifted its focus more towards Chromebooks, which is exciting for those of us with ChromeOS machines. Thanks to Chrome Unboxedwe have a first glimpse of the novelties:
Any Chromebook user with a relatively new iPad will appreciate this change. ChromeOS 107 introduces Camera Framing for compatible devices, a feature that uses software to track your head movements during video calls. It’s similar to Apple’s Center Stage and makes it easier to interact with people on the go. If your Chromebook supports it, you’ll see a pop-up alert to enable the feature after updating to ChromeOS 107. It’ll also appear as a quick setting option.
Close your Chromebook without putting it to sleep
If you’re the administrator of your Chromebook, you can choose to disable the feature that automatically puts the device to sleep when you close the lid. If you need to shut down your Chromebook for transport, but need to keep some processes running in the background, this feature is for you.
Upgrades to virtual desktops
With ChromeOS 107, Google is introducing some great virtual desktop upgrades. The first is the ability to merge offices. If you find that some of your virtual desktops are a little redundant, merging them is a quick fix to clean up. Instead of the single “X” you see to close a desktop in preview mode, you’ll now see a merge icon that moves that desktop to the one to its left.
Also new is the ability to save desktops for later, which is perfect for those times when you want to temporarily empty a desktop, but not lose its contents. The new “Save desktop for later” button in preview mode can save what you were doing for a later date.
Long press to access secondary keys
Chromebooks will soon have the ability to access secondary keys, like accents and special characters, by long-pressing the corresponding keys. This feature is currently in testing in Chrome 107, but you can turn on its flag to try it out now. Enter the following in your browser: chrome://flags#enable-cros-diacritics-on-physical-keyboard-longpress then press enter. Enable the flag, restart the browser, then try long-pressing different keys to see what happens.
Pay attention to privacy flags
This feature was actually spotted by Practical Geek, and it’s a welcome addition to ChromeOS. Like macOS, ChromeOS will soon show privacy indicators to let you know when an app is using your webcam or microphone. You’ll soon be able to try it out via a flag in the Canary Channel, which means you’ll have to download chrome canary if you haven’t already.
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