Chrome 71 arrives with an expanded ad blocker

 

Google today launched 71 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The release includes an ad , warnings for unclear mobile billing services, support for relative times, and plenty more developer-specific features. You can update to the latest version now using Chrome’s built-in updater or download it directly from google.com/chrome.

With over 1 billion users, Chrome is both a browser and a major platform that web developers must consider. In fact, with Chrome’s regular additions and changes, developers often must make an effort to stay on top of everything available — as well as what has been deprecated or removed — most notably, Chrome 71 removes the inline install API for extensions.

Expanded ad blocker

With Chrome 71, Google is cracking down on “abusive experiences” — buttons designed to intentionally mislead and trick users into taking action on the web — by having the browser’s ad blocker will cut off revenue for sites that have these abusive experiences.

Google last year joined the Coalition for Better Ads, a group that offers specific standards for how the industry should improve ads for consumers. In February, Chrome started blocking ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that display non-compliant ads, as defined by the coalition. When a Chrome user navigates to a page, the browser’s ad filter checks if that page belongs to a site that fails the Better Ads Standards. If so, network requests on the page are checked against a list of known ad-related URL patterns and any matches are blocked, preventing ads from displaying on the page.

Now Google is using the same strategy for abusive experiences. These ads trick users into clicking on them by pretending to be system warnings or contain “close” buttons that do not actually close the ad. In some cases, they can even steal personal information.

Abusive experience: A close button opens unwanted pop-up windows

Above: Abusive experience: A close button opens unwanted pop-up windows.

Google didn’t say how many sites this crackdown will affect — the company only said it sees a “small number of sites with persistent abusive experiences.”

If you’re a site owner or administrator, use Google Search Console’s Abusive Experiences Report to check if your site contains abusive experiences that need to be corrected or removed. If any are found, you will have 30 days to fix them before Chrome starts blocking ads on your site.

Android and iOS

Chrome 71 for Android isn’t out quite yet, but it should arrive soon over on Google Play. Chrome 71 for iOS meanwhile is available on Apple’s App Store with the following changelog:

  • You can now long-press on an image and save to clipboard and paste in other apps.
  • Fixes to authentication issues caused by using out-of-date cookies. Let us know if you encounter any issues with signing in to or out of websites.
  • Autofill now works better on sites with iframes (embedded pages).

The first one, the only feature addition, probably should have been added ages ago. The other two are just fixes and improvements.

Security fixes and improvements

As promised, Google’s browser on mobile and desktop, as well as in Android WebView, now displays a warning if it detects a webpage with unclear mobile billing services. If there is insufficient mobile subscription information available to the user, Chrome will let you know.

Google thus spent at least $59,000 in bug bounties for this release. As always, the security fixes alone should be enough incentive for you to upgrade.

Developer features

Chrome 71 introduces Intl.RelativeTimeFormat(), which brings phrases such as “yesterday” or “in three months” to the JavaScript engine. Such phrases are not part of built-in date and time APIs because that would require downloading lists of customary words or phrases for each supported language, increasing a library’s bundle size and download time. The Intl.RelativeTimeFormat API can also retrieve information for multiple languages, dealing with parts of a date or time individually (in other words, formatToParts()).

Chrome 71 updates the V8 JavaScript engine to version 7.1. It includes memory improvements, performance tweaks, structured cloning of Wasm modules, and new JavaScript language features. Check out the full changelog for more information.

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