Chrome 93 Beta is all about convenience, progressive web apps, and glimpses of Material You (APK Download)

Chrome 93 is rolling out to the beta channel as we speak, and it packs some exciting things. We’re in for better cross-platform compatibility when it comes to OTP codes, prettier (or at least more useful) windows for web apps, plus much more. Here’s what we know about the beta right now.

Cross-device support for OTP codes

Google is giving developers all tools needed to make two-factor authentication via one-time codes (OTPs) much less of a hassle. When you’re signed into the same Google account on your phone and your desktop installation of Chrome 93, you’ll be able to seamlessly paste SMS OTP codes from your phone to your desktop for supported sites. Of course, SMS isn’t the most secure method when it comes to OTP, but it’s still better than nothing, and making it less of a hassle to use is worth a lot.

You can test this for yourself on by sending yourself an SMS with the exact words listed on the site (yes, I was also surprised to learn that it’s possible to send SMS messages to oneself). Just make sure you’ve got all pre-requisites in place. Now, you’ll just have to wait for your bank or credit union to support this sometime in 2031.

PWAs as URL handlers

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are about to feel even more like native apps on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Chrome 93 is starting a test that lets developers declare web apps as URL handlers. For example, if you’re using Twitter as a PWA created in Chrome, all links could automatically open in the dedicated PWA interface, further bridging the gap between native applications and web apps. This could be especially handy for Gmail, I reckon. On Android, this feature has been available for a while as part of the WebAPK install method.

To experiment with this, you’ll need to activate the chrome://flags/#enable-desktop-pwas-url-handling flag, though there will likely only a few or no apps that support this at the moment.

Prettier PWAs incoming

You know how some desktop apps like the Microsoft Office suite and many Apple apps take advantage of extra space available in their system title bars? Chrome PWAs could soon also take advantage of that thanks to a new Window Controls Overlay API. It allows developers to utilize the space in the title bar and populate it with a search bar, podcast playback controls, and anything else they can think of.

Yes, this is Google’s example. I’m serious.

This feature is expected to go stable in Chrome 94, and if it’s widely adopted, it could make PWAs feel so much more native.

Better multi-screen support for web apps

Slideshows, presentations, and other multi-screen or multi-window experiences are about to get better thanks to an experiment started in Chrome 93. A new Multi-Screen Window Placement API will allow developers to place windows in precise locations on multiple screens, allowing you to view your speaker notes on your laptop’s screen while showing your presentation on the projector (for example). Google also gives multi-window graphics editors like GIMP or virtual trading desks as examples for multi-window experiences that could benefit from this. It will likely take a while until web apps take advantage of this capability, but it’s something to look forward to.

Glimpses of Material You

When you activate the right flags, you’ll get the first few Material You elements in Chrome 93 on Android 12. In settings, you’ll see a subtle shade of your wallpaper’s main color as the background of the top bar and tabs in the tab overview are more rounded and use colors from your wallpaper. A few more places are also based on the extracted colors, like text highlights and toggles.

We’ve got more details in our dedicated post about this.

More changes

Here are a few more changes incoming that we already covered in depth before and that are mostly still hidden behind flags:

  • New search interface in testing: Google is testing a horizontal strip with search results below the address bar. Read more about it in our dedicated article.
  • Separating bookmarks and the reading list: Google has added a flag that lets you separate bookmark creation from adding sites to your reading list.
  • Sidebar for bookmarks and the reading list: Speaking of which, Chrome 93 for desktops has another flag that lets you activate a handy sidebar with your bookmarks and reading list. Here’s all you need to know.
  • Send tab to self improvements: Chrome 93 changes how tab sharing works across your Chrome installations, forgoing system notifications on many platforms. Read all about that here.
  • New widgets for Android: Chrome 93 for Android has some new widgets hidden behind a flag that sure look like they’re inspired by their iOS counterparts. Read more about this here.
  • Prettier text snippet sharing on Android: Chrome 93 enhances a previously available flag for sharing Instagram-like text snippets as images.
  • WebXR Plane Detection API: Augmented and virtual reality applications are now able to retrieve data about planes present in your surroundings, which allows developers to create more immersive and realistic experiences.

Chrome 93 is the last version to be released on Google’s six-week cycle. Starting with Chrome 94, new versions will come to us every four weeks, so expect the version number to change even faster going forward.

You can download the new Chrome Beta on the Play Store or over at APK Mirror.

Chrome Beta
Chrome Beta

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