Chrome gets a new way of managing tabs while Firefox now features a new add-ons blocklist.
Google and Mozilla have each released new stable versions of their web browsers for desktop platforms, with both Chrome and Firefox bringing a slew of new features and security fixes that are being rolled out to Windows, Mac and Linux.
What’s new in Chrome 85?
The new version of Google’s web browser includes 20 security fixes; and while the company won’t disclose the details of all of them until the updates are delivered to the majority of its user base, it did highlight the patches for 14 vulnerabilities that were reported by external researchers. Two flaws were classified as high-risk, seven were considered medium and the rest were designated as low in severity.
Chrome has also introduced new features that include improved tab management and the option to fill out PDF forms directly in the browser. Tabs can now be added into groups and are visually distinguishable by tasks, topics, or even priority; the Chrome team has also ushered in performance improvements, including to allow pages to load up to 10% faster on Mac and Windows.
The enhancements are achieved by the introduction of Profile Guided Optimization (PGO) and tab throttling. The latter will be first released to the Beta Channel. “Chrome will give more resources to the tabs you’re using by taking them back from tabs that have been in the background for a long time. We see improvements not only in loading speed but also battery and memory savings,” said Chrome engineering director Max Christoff.
Chrome 85 will also natively support the AVIF image format, which will reduce bandwidth and data consumption and add HDR color support. It’s worth mentioning that Google has implemented this into its Chromium browser engine, which means that web browsers running on its code will probably support AVIF as well.
Meanwhile, Firefox 80 includes fixes for 10 vulnerabilities, three of which were designated as high severity, four were classified moderate and the rest were considered low in severity. To boost its security, Firefox now also sports a new add-ons blocklist, which is supposed to improve performance and scalability. The browser already has add-on blocking processes that it deploys when its policies are violated; however, the previous version of the blocklist wasn’t meeting the demands of the ever-growing ecosystem.
“After investigating potential solutions, we decided the new add-ons blocklist would be powered by a data structure created from cascading bloom filters, which provides an efficient way to store millions of records using minimal space,” said Stuart Colville, the Engineering Manager for Firefox Add-ons.
Beyond the security fixes and updates, Firefox also now adds the option of choosing it as your default PDF viewer.