Google Chrome 79 has just been released and is available for download for all platforms including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. If you have already installed Google Chrome, then you can skip everything and update your Google Chrome installation.
Chrome 79 comes with exciting new security features like real-time phishing protection and password check and performance features like tab freezing, virtual reality, cross-platform clipboard, etc.
A total of 51 vulnerabilities have been fixed along with these new features. Let’s first see how we can download and upgrade to Chrome 79 and then we’ll talk about the new features and how to use them in detail.
Upgrade to Chrome 79
If you have already installed Chrome on your system, updating it to the latest version is easy. Follow the steps below to update your browser to the latest version, version 79.
- Open Google Chrome
- Click on the three vertical dots at the top right of the window. This will open the Chrome menu.
- Under the menu, go to Help –> About Google Chrome. This will trigger Google Update and will check for new updates automatically.
Download Chrome 79
Download: Google Chrome web installer
Download: Google Chrome offline installer
Download: Google Chrome MSI Installer [Enterprise Edition]
Download: Google Chrome for macOS
Download: Google Chrome for Android
Download: Google Chrome for iOS
Download: Google Chrome Portable
Install Chrome 79
Installing Google Chrome 79 is as simple as downloading it. Just run the installer download from the above-mentioned download links. Chrome starts differently depending upon the version of Windows you’re using:
Windows 7: A Chrome window opens once everything is done.
Windows 8 & 8.1: A welcome dialog appears. Click Next to select your default browser.
Windows 10: A Chrome window opens after everything is done. You can make Chrome your default browser.
For other Operating Systems, here’s a helpful Chrome installation guide from Google.
What’s new in Chrome 79
Real-time phishing protection
Google’s Safe Browsing Service is a popular service from Google that alerts users about unsafe and dangerous websites or even before downloading dangerous files. This service is built-in to Google Chrome.
But earlier than Chrome 79, the database was being updated at a 30-minute interval. Some phishing and malware websites were slipping through taking advantage of this interval. So from Chrome 79, Google will use the safe browsing service database in real-time.
How to enable/disable real-time phishing protection
There are some reservations about privacy as Google sends all the URLs and websites which a user opens to Google’s servers to check against its database of dangerous websites. Although Google claims that the URLs sent are encrypted with SHA-256 encryption but if you are still concerned about your privacy, you can disable real-time phishing protection from your browser.
You can disable this using URLKeyedAnonymizedDataCollectionEnabled key.
Password Checkup security feature
Earlier this year, Google launched a Chrome extension Password Checkup. The extension is used to check the passwords saved in the Chrome browser against a database of hacked credentials in Google’s database.
If any of the credentials you saved in Google Chrome 79 and onwards are involved in a known hack or data breach, Google will warn you to change your password as soon as possible. This extension functionality has been built into Chrome 79. This makes using Google’s own password manager more secure than ever.
How to enable/disable password check feature
The same concern shows up in real-time phishing protection cases. Google sends saved passwords to Google’s servers to check in an encrypted form. If you are not satisfied with Google’s security, you can turn the password checkup feature off.
Virtual Reality with WebXR Device API
Chrome 79 comes with WebXR Device API which brings virtual reality to the web. This is a huge step forward as developers will be able to create immersive experiences for smartphones and head-mounted displays in Chrome.
This feature is a welcome addition for both mobile device users and ChromeOS users.
Chrome for Windows Desktop likes to eat up as much RAM as is available. This becomes a problem when a user has several tabs open in Chrome but they are not being used.
With Chrome 79, Google has added a new feature called tab freeze. This feature will unload the tab from the computer’s memory if it has been inactive for more than 5 minutes.
This feature is already implemented in Chrome for Android and will now be available for Windows, Mac, Linux as well as Chrome OS.
Now users who are logged into both Chrome Desktop and Chrome for Android can synchronize Chrome’s clipboard. This is a lifesaver feature if you juggle between devices and want to transfer text to any device quickly.
You need to have Google Chrome Sync enabled on all the devices you use to make use of this feature.
DNS over HTTPS
Google is slowly releasing DNS-over-HTTPS feature to all Chrome users. DoH is a secure way of browsing as the data between the computer and your DNS server will be encrypted. This will enhance overall security and privacy.
To make use of this feature, you need to have a DNS service that supports DNS-over-HTTPS like Google’s own DNS servers 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 or Cloudflare’s 184.108.40.206.
Chrome 79 comes with some major security and performance improvements. I strongly urge everyone to download Chrome 79 to use all the latest features to remain secure with great performance results.