Google Chrome 96 is out: here is what is new

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 15, 2021
Google Chrome

Google released Chrome 96 for all supported desktop operating systems and Android this week; the new version is 96.0.4664.45. No mentioning of security updates in the release.

Chrome 96

google chrome 96

Google plans to roll out the update to all devices running Chrome in the coming weeks. Desktop users may speed up the process by loading chrome://settings/help in the browser's address bar. The page that opens displays the currently installed version and runs a check for updates. The new version will be picked up and installed automatically. A restart is required to complete the process.

The official blog post on the Chrome Releases blog offers virtually no information on the release. It lists the version number and that the extended stable of Chrome has been promoted to Chrome 96 as well. Google switched to a 4-week release cycle for Chrome recently and created the extended channel to increase the release period to every other release (8-weeks).

A Chrome 96 beta post on the Chromium blog reveals information on what is new in the new version. Here is a list of important changes:

  • HTTPS is used to connect to websites if an HTTPS record is available from the domain name service (DNS).
  • Web applications may register as URL protocol handlers, e.g. to launch twitter links using the Twitter PWA, or FTP links using a web FTP application.
  • New Origin trial: Conditional focus
    • Applications that capture other windows or tabs currently have no way to control whether the calling item or the captured item gets focus. (Think of a presentation feature in a video conference app.) Chrome 96 makes this possible with a subclass of MediaStreamTrack called FocusableMediaStreamTrack, which supports a new focus() method.
  • New Origin trial: Priority Hints
    • Priority Hints introduces a developer-set "importance" attribute to influence the computed priority of a resource. Supported importance values are "auto", "low", and "high". Priority Hints indicate a resource's relative importance to the browser, allowing more control over the order resources are loaded.
  • Back forward cache on desktop for faster navigations to "previously-visited pages after cross-site navigations".
  • New credentialless policy for Cross-Origin-Embedder-Policy.
    • Cross-Origin-Embedder-Policy has a new credentialless option that causes cross-origin no-cors requests to omit credentials (cookies, client certificates, etc.). Similarly to COEP:require-corp, it can enable cross-origin isolation.
  • Unique IDs for desktop PWAs.
    • The appmanifest spec doesn’t explicitly define what uniquely identifies a PWA. Currently, on the desktop versions of Chromium-based browsers and Firefox on Android, PWAs are uniquely identified by app's start_url and Android Chromium-based browsers use manifest_url instead. This is confusing to developers. Also it made developers unable to change their start_url and manifest_url.Having a stable id allows apps to update other metadata like start_url and manifest_url, and have a consistent way to reference apps across browser platforms, PWA stores and other external entities.This feature tracks the launch process for implementation on the desktop side, as the Android implementation will be done with a different timeline. They will both follow the same specification.
  • Enhanced content security policy to improve interoperability with WebAssembly.
  • Deprecated: The PaymentRequest API has deprecated the basic card payment method. Will be removed in Chrome 100.

Google is also running a trial to find out if Chrome's version 100 release will cause any issues on the Internet. Site owners and users may test this by enabling the flag chrome://flags/#force-major-version-to-100.

Now You: do you use Google Chrome? Have you updated already?

Google Chrome 96 is out: here is what is new
Article Name
Google Chrome 96 is out: here is what is new
Google released Chrome 96 for all supported desktop operating systems and Android this week; the new version is 96.0.4664.45. No mentioning of security updates in the release.
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  1. John said on November 21, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    How do you remove the search tab at the top right?

    1. CMdesArbres said on December 2, 2021 at 11:29 am

      It looks as if that is no longer an option in Version 96.0.4664.45 (Official Build) (64-bit) Chrome…so this fix… … no longer seems an option. Not happy about that.

  2. Ray said on November 16, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    Don’t care about Chrome anymore. Memory gobbler and privacy ogre. I am on Firefox and Edge.

    1. LMAO said on November 17, 2021 at 7:32 am

      Mentioning Edge in a comment with the word privacy on it, is ridiculous lmao.

  3. You can do it said on November 16, 2021 at 7:56 am

    > and Edge to open other certain things that MS wants to be opened with Edge only.

    I refuse to use “Edge” and “certain things” […] “with Edge only.”


    IMO – don’t you see how MS retains control of your computing experiences? Abandon them now for Linux, BSD, etc. instead of continuing to REWARD them by using/buying/supporting their crap.

    The time for action is NOW!

  4. John G. said on November 16, 2021 at 7:33 am

    Chrome is useful for some certain things, Firefox for other certain things and Edge to open other certain things that MS wants to be opened with Edge only. Just all folks, no problem! :]

  5. Neutrino said on November 15, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    “Now You: do you use Google Chrome? Have you updated already?”

    No and No.
    Chromium based browsers are ugly. The way they render pages is awful: the colors are off, contrast is too much, and all the graphic elements, plus some of the fonts, are blurry due to the hardware acceleration. And if you turn it off, the color inaccuracy gets even worse; but the worst thing is that the v-sync is gone, and the “tearing” between frames is painfully obvious when you scroll. It’s just a stupid browser for mass consumption.
    I like Brave and what they do, but just can’t stand the chromium puke under the hood and the way it looks.

    1. Anonymous said on November 16, 2021 at 7:44 am

      LOL okay… Firefox fanboy whatever you say, keep enjoying your dying engine that gets half billion dollars and render everything slower and worst and uses more resources.
      I mean, even Vivaldi with its slower UI is faster than Firefox, and also it means you are completely lying becuase it fits your fanboyism about how Chromium browsers blabla, Edge and Opera also look nice, Brave doesn’t but they focus more on privacy and some niche features that might do something different with the web. Anyway, anything Chromium is and will always be better than what Firefox/Gecko offers… but again, you can think and do whatever you want, if you are so blind and you really believe what you said in your fanboy post, then nothing anybody can do.

    2. Kestrel 365 said on November 16, 2021 at 4:23 am

      Brave’s default gradient color scheme makes me want to puke

  6. sfsdf said on November 15, 2021 at 4:07 pm


  7. particlesmasher said on November 15, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    I’m using Chrome currently, but only until it bloats up too much and slows down, which it always does eventually (even with cache cleaning). I have to laugh at these versions. Now at nine numbers. The future holds let’s see…version 96.2944.48488891165.3744483928475568.1?

  8. Leopeva64 said on November 15, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    Google Chrome will soon let you read articles in the Side panel while browsing other websites in the main window, this new feature is already available in Chrome 98 (Canary):


  9. Anonymous said on November 15, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    So they no longer just omit some of the user hostile changes now, they stop providing human readable release notes altogether ? On what they like to repeat themselves is “the most important piece of software on our computers” ? It’s none of our business what Google and friends do with our computers anyway, let’s stop pretending we have any control or even knowledge on this.

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