With updates every six weeks, Google is constantly improving their Chrome browser. But for its ten-year anniversary, Google wanted to give their users a special reason to celebrate. And they delivered with their most recent Chrome update.
Perhaps you've already peeked at the changes (it launched in early September). But with all of the new details it packs in, even the most up-to-date teams might not have dug in far enough. While some of the updates are undetectable, there are a few more prominent ones that teams using Chrome should understand and employ.
This is a first indication of what is to come in search updates from the giants over at Google. For teams looking to increase productivity — and especially security — we've saved you the trouble of sifting through the details on your own.
Chrome's New Password Manager Reduces Chances of Hacking
With a freshly re-imagined password manager, this Chrome update has made it easier for employees to avoid password recycling and improve password storage. This is more important than you might think. According to a recent study, poor passwords are responsible for 81 percent of data breaches. Over 70 percent of employees reuse the same password on multiple sites at work — and many of these recycled passwords are easy to hack in the first place.
Some easily-detectable employee password examples include:
(The above data is from Troy Hunt's sample of more than half a billion passwords that were previously implicated in data breaches.)
The 2012 Dropbox data breach, which took the company four years to discover, resulted in the theft of 60 million user credentials due to one employee reusing a password.
Convinced that well-crafted passwords are important? Google agrees.
It has evolved its password-saving function (for easier log-ins and payments) to include a unique password generator along with speedy, more accurate form filling. This is designed to help teams use more diverse and complex passwords.
On sites that require passwords, Chrome will suggest hard-to-hack options. One of the most substantial of Chrome's updates, the password manager will save newly created passwords directly to your Google account. Employees can manage them within their accounts or directly in the Chrome toolbar.
Though password security is crucial, this improvement may seem subtle compared to some of the more eye-popping features in this Chrome update. Let's move onto the new Chrome UI, design, and productivity features.
A Reimagined Browser Makes Search Faster and Organization Easier
It's clear that Google is focused on making its users more productive. Over and above the rapid generation and storage of passwords, it delivers a valuable interface and design for everyday browsing.
A rounded tab scheme, as opposed to the straight edges in the former version, creates more space to manage web pages and documents across your open tabs.
The improved UX allows more space for website icons - the key to differentiating tabs on your browser. Even with fifty tabs open on one window, all fifty icons would be in view.
You can also search for a specific page in Google's Omnibox - the main hybrid address and search bar. The Omnibox will now tell you if that page is already open, and a click of the new ‘Switch to this tab' option will take you directly there.
Google has already promised an even smarter Omnibox that can search your files from your Google Drive directly. As Chrome evolves, getting yourself to the right page will only continue to get faster and easier.
Employees in the U.S. spend an average of eight hours a day working (and this is well below the averages of many high-performance roles in industries like finance and law). Increasing employee productivity is critical to keeping teams on track and competitive, even if that means shaving off seconds with improved browser organization and search functions. These will add up over time, freeing up team members to dig into the most valuable tasks.
It's not all about desktop: Chrome includes mobile browsing updates
Mobile search has also drastically improved, thanks to Google's careful consideration of one-handed, on-the-go features.
Searching with one hand becomes exceedingly more convenient when you don't have to reach the top of the screen. The keyboard appears simply by clicking the new search button at thumb's length.
Google also makes it easier to jump between tabs on your phone by keeping the tab count next to the bottom search button.
Click through to open tabs and you'll see the same rounded redesign from the desktop version on both iOS and Android. With a full view of each open page, the new look helps make your mobile tabs even more intuitive than on your desktop. Plus, this look matches up with the new Google Drive on your desktop, giving an even more cohesive feel to the whole Google family.
In 2017, 49.7 percent of web page views worldwide were on mobile devices — and mobile data traffic is projected to increase 7X by 2021. As more employees work remotely, travel, and rely on mobile devices, these small tweaks that Chrome has rolled out for iOS will make a difference.
The Future of Search: What's Ahead For Teams That Use Chrome
Today, Chrome is the most heavily used browser, with over 60 percent of users relying on it.
The changes that Google makes will have far-reaching consequences for employee security and agility at work, helping everyone brace themselves in an increasingly complex threat environment.
While this Chrome update has provided the internet with a new look, tighter security, and more productive tabs, the real excitement comes in a reimagined future for upcoming Chrome models.
With rumors of a URL-less browser for safer browsing and further implementation of artificial intelligence, there's a lot in store that's bound to make life increasingly more efficient.
Google has also indicated more "under the hood" security updates in 2018, including an improved ad filter to site isolation.
Lastly, Google also gave us a first glimpse into smart search bar answers—a convenient way to get answers to straightforward questions. For example, when you search for the weather, Chrome will give you the answer directly into the search bar - rather than taking you to a search engine page first.
With a deliberate focus on simple questions, this feature is designed for the moments when all you need is a quick explanation or an immediate reminder on a piece of trivia or even a language translation.
As the Omnibox becomes increasingly smarter, the future of search is rapidly unfurling before our eyes. Google intends to continually improve how users find information—and keep it safe—in 2018 and beyond.
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