When in Chrome: Your guide to the new features of Chrome 69

Earlier this year, we looked at why 2017 was the year the web went secure and the importance of businesses obtaining a secure certificate for their website so that it can be prefixed with HTTPS, rather than HTTP.

Throughout 2018, we’ve seen more businesses requesting secure certificates for their sites and it seems that website visitors are a lot more aware of HTTPS and what it means.

This has been especially evident for those using the Chrome browser since it has been actively highlighting non-secure sites in the address bar.

That was version 68 of Chrome and the recent update to version 69, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the browser, saw further changes relating to security.

Google’s gift of better browsing

To celebrate a decade of Chrome, Google launched version 69 of the browser. This latest update features a new look with some extra search and security features.

Easier navigation

As you’d expect, our graphic design team spotted the slight redesign to Chrome 69.

Google has introduced rounded corners, new icons and an updated colour palette. But as well as updating its look and feel their designers also made a slight amend to the way that tabs are displayed.

Recognising that some people are tab hoarders, the new version of Chrome features larger website icons (favicons), making it easier to navigate across multiple tabs.

This means that it's more important than ever for websites to feature clear favicons as part of their brand identity.

Browser window showing Chrome 69 tabs feature

There’s also a nice little touch of personalisation on the new tab page. If you click the gear icon in the bottom right corner, you can change the background image to anything you want without having to install a browser extension.

Browser window showing Chrome 69 new tab page feature

Smarter search

The address bar at the top of Chrome is called the Omnibox. It’s where you can both type the address of a website and also input search results.

Now, just like the search box on the Google home page, the Omnibox in Chrome will display options as a drop down.

Browser window showing Chrome 69 Omnibox feature

As you’d expect from a customer-centric organisation like Google, it’s all about offering the best possible UX design.

Stronger passwords

But it wasn’t all about the way Chrome looked. Security has been a major focus in version 69.

Depressingly, a recent study by SplashData showed that the top four most commonly-used passwords of 2017 were still 123456, password, 12345678 and QWERTY!

Password 123456 written on a sticky note by a laptop

To combat this, Chrome 69 features an improved password manager that recommends strong passwords to anyone signing into a website or updating their settings.

Safer search

Promoting secure websites is still a major focus for Google.

Prior to Chrome 69, secure websites (HTTPS) were highlighted to the user with the word ‘Secure’ together with a padlock symbol in a positive green colour. Non-secure websites (HTTP) showed a ‘Not Secure’ warning

Now, secure sites will display without the word ‘Secure’ and the green colour has been dropped, favouring a simpler black padlock.

Browser window showing how secure websites display on Chrome 69

While this might seem counter-intuitive, this subtle change indicates that secure sites are now to be seen as the new norm and that non-secure sites, which will still feature a ‘Not Secure’ label, are seen as ‘abnormal’.

The next step, reportedly coming in Chrome 70 is to show a strong, red ‘Not Secure’ warning that will be even more prominent.

Be seen to be safe

If you want your website to be seen as trustworthy or simply want it to be seen in the first place, migrating to HTTPS is now more important than ever.

A 2017 study found that 65% of websites ranking for high-volume keywords were already secure. And recent statistics show that more than half (51.8%) of the Alexa top 1 million sites are now redirecting to HTTPS.

If you’d like to find out how you can obtain a secure certificate and join the growing number of websites that will display favourably on Chrome and in Google search results, get in touch today.

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