ChromeOS 113 is scheduled for release today but while we wait, let’s talk about the Chrome browser for desktop. Rolled out earlier this week, the update to Chrome 113 isn’t overly exciting but there are some key feature updates and additions worth noting. If you haven’t received the update on your Windows, macOS, or Linux device, it’s time to head to that three-dot menu and smash that update button to get the fresh version of Chrome. To check for the update, click the three-dot menu at the top right of Chrome and select “More” from the dropdown menu. Click “Help” and then, select Update Google Chrome. Wait for the download to complete and relaunch the browser. You’re all set. You should now be on version 113.
As I mentioned, there’s not a ton of new stuff in this update but what you will find is some new tools and features that are laying the groundwork for what Chrome will look like in the future. First up is the addition of WebGPU support in Chrome. Robby covered this feature last month and went into depth on what it could mean for browser-based gaming. Essentially, Chrome 113 will have access to a new set of web-based APIs that “allow for far more local hardware GPU operations to happen right in the browser.” You can read more about the new WebGPU API on the Chrome Developer Blog.
AV1 codec support
Video calls have become a staple for millions since the pandemic and high quality video calling has become the desire for those of us that find ourselves frequently in front of a web cam. With Chrome 113, Google’s browser will now have access to the AV1 codec which can improve call quality even when using low bandwidth connections.
Google Meet has tested AV1 successfully in extremely low bandwidth conditions—down to 40 kbps—which unlocks video calling to users whose poor Internet connections previously prevented them from making video calls. Users with better Internet connectivity get improved video calls. Compared to VP9 speed 7, AV1 Speed 10 provides 12% better quality at the same bandwidth, while running 25% faster on desktops.
Journeys on the New Tab Page
Building on the Chrome Journeys feature, your recent Journeys will now display on the new tab page when you open Chrome. Unlike the traditional Chrome history, Journeys groups together specific paths you’ve taken while searching and navigating the web. This is very useful for picking up where you left off without having to scrub through pages of Chrome’s history.
In the three-dot menu of Chrome, you will now find that the Extensions option is now a top-level tab instead of being buried under the “more tools” tab. You should also see the Chrome Web Store as a sub-menu for Extensions which is intended to make it easier for users to quickly access the storefront to find new tools for Chrome. Future updates to the menu may add the Password Manager to the top-level menu as well.
As with most Chrome updates, 113 features its fair share of security patches. This version brings 15 total patches and fixes that netted developers roughly $30,000 in bug bounties. You can find a partial list of the updates here.
That’s about it for the big updates in this version of Chrome. With Google I/O happening next week, I’m sure we’ll have plenty to report on what we can look forward to for Google’s browser in the coming months. We’ll keep an eye out for ChromeOS 113 as it should arrive in the next day or two. I don’t expect much in the way of updates but we’ll crack it open and see if there’s anything fun in the latest version of ChromeOS. Stay tuned.