Google Chrome will soon adjust address bar icons using Machine Learning

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 11, 2022
Google Chrome

Google revealed plans to increase the use of machine learning in the company's Chrome web browser to make it a "more helpful browser".

chrome machine learning improvements

Google is using machine learning already in Chrome, for instance, to improve accessibility. The company plans to extend the use of machine learning in the Chrome web browser in several areas in the future.

Chrome's address bar may soon display icons using machine learning. Chrome will adjust icons on the toolbar using machine learning to display the action that Google considers to be the "most useful" in the situation.

Chrome might display a voice search icon to users, or a share icon on certain sites, using machine learning. A mockup of the feature demonstrates how the feature could look like on Chrome for Android. The dynamic icon, displayed on the right side of the address bar, is changed automatically using machine learning.

Google does note that users may customize the functionality, but does not provide details besides that.

Some users may find the dynamic nature of the feature confusing, especially if the suggested action changes frequently. Considering that the suggested actions are available elsewhere in Chrome, it may help inexperienced users the most.

Google highlights two additional uses of machine learning in the browser. The first improves Safe Browsing in the Chrome browser. Safe Browsing is a security feature that determines whether downloads and sites are safe or need to be blocked.

Google rolled out a new machine learning model in March in Chrome, and the company claims that it improved the identification of potentially malicious sites by the factor 2.5.

Soon, Chrome will use machine learning to make notification prompts less annoying to users. Chrome uses machine learning on the device to supress notification prompts or display them to the user.

Chrome predicts when permission prompts are unlikely to be granted based on how the user previously interacted with similar permission prompts, and silences these undesired prompts. In the next release of Chrome, we’re launching an ML model that makes these predictions entirely on-device.

Machine learning will also be used by Chrome's translation feature when users use Journeys in the browser. Journeys is an add-on to the browsing history that groups pages of the history based on topics.

Machine learning is already being used to determine whether page content needs to be translated. Google boasts that it is seeing "tens of millions more successful translations every day" because of that.

Closing Words

Chrome benefits from machine learning in some areas, e.g., when it comes to Safe Browsing and the detection of malicious sites. In other areas, machine learning attempts to determine a user's next action or desired actions, to improve usability. The changing address bar icon is a prime example of this; while it may prove useful to some, it may irritate others, especially if accidental activations of undesirable actions are a result. The feature is giving Google suggestive powers and more control over user actions.

Now You: what is your take on the announced changes?

Google Chrome will soon adjust address bar icons using Machine Learning
Article Name
Google Chrome will soon adjust address bar icons using Machine Learning
Google revealed plans to increase the use of machine learning in the company's Chrome web browser to make it a "more helpful browser".
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  1. Stijn said on June 13, 2022 at 5:01 am

    I just need my browser to show a standard set of options. It only needs to leave out progressive web crap. I don’t need them to guess anything else.

  2. Alan said on June 12, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    Well if they put this machine learning crap in Brave Browser. I will either try to disable it some how. Or switch over to a different Web browser that doesn’t have the machine learning. As of late been using Iridium browser. Its similar to Brave without the built in Ad blocker. I use uBlock Orgin and Privacy Possum to filter out ads and stuff..

  3. Trey said on June 12, 2022 at 12:09 am

    Of course machine learning built into chrome will need a firehose of analytics to make sure it’s helping you in every way possible. They’re just really helpful those Google chaps.

  4. Coriy said on June 11, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    Okay, so will this Machine Learning Feature help us, somehow, or is it mostly to help Alphabet exploit us for advertising dollars?
    Also, will this “feature” be in just Chrome or also Chromium, where it might help the alternative browsers?
    Seriously seems like the Chromium / Chrome is becoming ever more bloated with functions that don’t do much for the end user experience, but require more power, both computational and energy, for less and less utility.

    1. Marv said on June 12, 2022 at 12:17 pm

      Just like your shrink “helps you” by making big pharma rich. Or my shrink if you take offense from the example.

      >”more helpful browser”
      Excuse me, do you need help?
      t. clippy in MS word

      The Orwellian future is not a boot stomping on a human face forever, but the hand of big brother on your shoulder when you surf for private stuff.

  5. Leopeva64 said on June 11, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    Google Chrome may soon have ‘fluent’ scrollbars (the same scrollbars Edge uses on Windows), Microsoft engineers have already made the first change related to this feature:


  6. Steve said on June 11, 2022 at 11:30 am

    Oh boy – soon enough Google will tell you everything you should do in your day based in how wise or stupid their ML perceives you.

    In the modern world, every company is taking a part of you until your are just a vassal to their whims.

    1. eich said on June 11, 2022 at 1:34 pm

      great, we can use this in Brave to display crypto advert icons

  7. Paul(us) said on June 11, 2022 at 9:28 am

    Martin, perhaps you know whether there are possibilities to dim certain ML sections or to stop them altogether.
    Especially the ML part of determining a user’s next action or desired actions, in order to improve usability according to Google, I would very much like to determine myself.

    I also do not like the unrestrained forwarding of information to Google.
    I am already trying to do everything that I personally know is possible through add-ons, among other things.
    Would it be possible for a series of articles by for Chrome and other browsers to pay attention to this?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 11, 2022 at 11:06 am

      It depends on whether Google is adding controls to the feature. My guess is that most are not controllable by the user.

      Google makes it sounds as if the dynamic icon in the address bar is going to be customizable, but since it has not launched yet, it remains to be seen how that is implemented, and whether there is a simple on/off switch.

      1. Alan said on June 12, 2022 at 8:33 pm

        Hi Martin Brinkmann have you done a review on Iridium browser yet? I seem to like it a little better than Brave.

      2. owl said on June 12, 2022 at 11:38 pm

        > have you done a review on Iridium browser yet? I seem to like it a little better than Brave.

        I have used “Iridium” in the past.
        The biggest problem with this browser is that development support is slow and security patches from upstream are applied too late (usually delayed 6 months or more).
        After much research, I found that “when the browser was first released, there were about 10 development staff, but the staff at that time resigned, and since last year, only two people, Michael Kromer (the head of development), and Jan Engelhardt (a newcomer)”, and it is no longer in a state of failure.

        My current regular browser is Firefox ESR,
        When using Chromium, Brave is my only option.

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