Chrome 104 arrives today with a controversial Bluetooth Web API hated by Apple and Mozilla

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Google Chrome 103 landed on June 21 with faster page loads and access to local fonts. That means it’s been almost six weeks since a major Chrome release was released, which is a bit unusual since Chrome releases typically arrive every four weeks. Anyway, Chrome 104 is coming today, and it has a lengthy changelog that includes region capture support and a quirky trial for disabling credit card information storage, among other stuff.

The star this time is a Updated region capture API which not only allows apps to capture your tab on video, but also crop it. The developers have strongly supported this API, according to Google.

Another feature that caused a stir in the browser community is an improvement Bluetooth Web API in Chrome 104. This API now integrates with the permissions policy allowing websites to communicate with other devices over Bluetooth, but not with cross-origin iframes. Google believes this opens up multiple avenues of productivity and communication without compromising security.

However, it faced strong resistance from Mozilla and Apple, both of which have “negative” comments about the API. Apple thinks the API reduces security and enables fingerprint behaviors. The company says it “does[es] do not yet see a way to solve these problems”. Mozilla expressed similar concerns calling the API “harmful” and noting that:

This API allows access to the Generic Attribute Profile (GATT) of Bluetooth, which is not the lowest level of access allowed by the specifications, but its generic nature does not allow it to be clearly evaluated. Like WebUSB, there is significant uncertainty as to how devices are prepared to receive requests from arbitrary sites. The generic nature of the API makes this risk difficult to manage. The Web Bluetooth CG has chosen to rely only on user consent, which we believe is not sufficient protection. This proposal also uses a blocklist, which will require constant and active maintenance so that vulnerable devices are not exploited. This model is not durable and poses a significant risk to users and their devices.

In terms of other changes in Chrome 104, four legacy client tips, namely “dpr”, “width”, “viewport-width”, and “device-memory”, are be deleted because they go against the standards set by the Client Hint framework. Similarly, U2F Security Key API and Component Extension Cryptotokens are also placed in maintenance mode, as they have already been incorporated into more modern implementations such as WebAuthn. As such, site owners have also been encouraged to migrate to modern standards.

Chrome windows on multiple screens

The Multi-Monitor Window Placement API is being enhanced to allow sites to open a full-screen window and a smaller complementary pop-up window on multi-display setups. Before that, users had to take additional steps to accomplish the same. Another improvement in the same space is that permissions to request fullscreen content can now be transferred across multiple trusted windows.

Other minor changes present in Chrome 104 are as follows:

That’s not all, however, as we need to unpack the abilities in the development and origin trials. Starting with the first, there are better and more accurate screen labels for user interactions on the Multi-Monitor Window Placement API. There is also a configuration that websites can use to allow customers can opt out of storing credit card information on development servers, this UX implementation is legally required in some regions. The the timer on throttling background pages loaded can also be reduced with an indicatorthis should allow for better battery and CPU usage, without reducing performance.

In terms of original trials, we have CSS focusgroup property which allows you to use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move focus to certain UI elements. Other features of the original trials include shared element transitions for improved transition animations for Single Page Applications (SPAs) as well as increased maximum nesting level for setTimeout(0) method.

Chrome 104 releases August 2 while Chrome 105 arrives August 30

As we can see, Chrome 104 is an important update. It will begin to unfold in the final hours of today. If Chrome doesn’t automatically update to version 104 for you throughout the day, go to Help > About Google Chrome to trigger the update as soon as it is available. Next up is Chrome 105 which will hit the beta channel on August 5 and land on Stable on August 30.

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