Google appears to have nailed down the 4-week update schedule that is now enjoyed by the Chrome browser and ChromeOS alike. Like clockwork, the latest versions of Chrome for Desktop and Chrome for Android are now available and should be rolling out to most users over the next few days. While this release doesn’t have a ton of new features, there are some important additions and updates that will further improve the overall Chrome user experience and that’s just as important as shiny, new features. Right? Here’s a quick look at what’s new in Chrome 103 for Desktop and Android.
Local fonts for Web Apps
Web apps have come a long way and products like Designer.io offer up a wide variety of fonts for users creating graphic designs. Unfortunately, using locally installed fonts has never been an option. Users were forced to use the preinstalled fonts or import them manually. The new Local Fonts API will give web access to fonts that are locally installed on a user’s device. Developers can learn how to use the API for calling local fonts in the Chrome Developer post here.
Notification blocking powered by ML
Google is deeply invested in machine learning and it applies the technology to many of its services for the benefit of the end-user. Chrome is no exception and with version 103, Google aims to cut down on the nuisance of unwanted notifications. As Michael highlighted earlier this month, Chrome will use on-browser machine learning to predict when a website notification is likely to be dismissed by the user. This interaction will happen entirely in the browser and require no data to be passed to Google’s servers.
Faster page load speeds
Bundled in Chrome 103 is the 103 Early Hints response code. (The fact that this is version 103 of Chrome is purely coincidental.) In short, the 103 Early Hints response code will allow developers to improve Core Web Vitals which are at the heart of page load speed and it can make or break a website. Hopefully, this will improve the browsing experience across the board for the majority of sites on the web.
Support 103 Early Hints informational responses during top-level frame navigation. When a 103 response includes link headers, Chromium tries to preload specified resources (including modulepreload) or preconnect to specified origins before the final response is received. This gives Web developers a way to optimize Core Web Vitals such as Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).
AVIF access for web share
Chrome allows access to a variety of file types via the share sheet and now, we can add the .avif image format to the list. This will give social media sites, graphic design web apps, and many other websites the ability to utilize the newer file type that features better compression than JPG, PNG, and even WebP images.
That’s about it on the front end but Chrome 103 is chock full of new tools for developers. You can find the full update here and listen to what’s new in the overview video below. Don’t forget, with Chrome 103 out in the wild, ChromeOS 103 won’t be far behind. Expect the ChromeOS update by the end of this week if all goes as planned.