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Chrome 52 stable update introduces new developer tools, removes app launcher

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Google is today rolling out the fifty-second(52nd) iteration of its Chrome browser to any and all PC users, running Windows, Linux or Mac. The browser contains the usual bug and security fixes but also adds several new developer features to improve browser performance.

Being one the largest browser platforms with over 1 billion users, Chrome has to keep its features and developer tools updated to provide a seamless development environment. This stable update introduces 48 security fixes and a lot of those have been contributed by external researchers.


The company has shelled out about $21,000 in bug bounty, while a lot of prizes still remain undecided. The highest bounty i.e $15,000 has been credited to Pinkie Pie, who helped fix a Sandbox escape issue in PPAPI.

Before taking a look at the updated developer tools, you should know that Chrome has now officially removed the app launcher from its offering.

The App Launcher which came bundled with the browser and allowed you to access any Chrome add-ons and applications form the taskbar itself has no instance in this update. But, the update log mentions that it will continue to be accessible by Chrome OS users(which is foolish as they now have full-access to Play Store apps).


In addition to this, this update after insistent pleas and requests removes the ability to use ‘backspace’ as a return shortcut. You no longer need to worry about losing your data when filling out a form by accidentally pressing backspace. But, this feature isn’t completely dead. Google is working on an extension to bring it back for power users.

And if you’re using Chrome on Mac(via 9to5 Mac), then you’ll be surprised to see the introduction of Material Design elements in the browser. You’ll notice slighty redesigned tabs, buttons and menus in this update. The Material Design elements have been spotted quite long ago, but there is currently no word on its availability for Windows users.

Developer Tool Updates

First feature introduction is the CSS-contain property which allows developers limit the scope of browser styles, its layout and design — it prevents your website elements going out of bounds. When the browser has to render a change in a webpage, it has to consider all other elements in the frame so that it doesn’t go out of bounds of the DOM. But with CSS containment, you can due selective rendering of the webpage.

To improve website load and render times, Chrome can now ignore any children node outside of the parent during rendering. This property gives Chrome the power to consider fewer elements while loading.

Chrome uses heuristics to determine which parts of a page have changed and should be updated, but because elements can display outside the bounds of their parents, changes to one element can affect elements anywhere else in the document,

says Paul Lewis in the Chrome Developer blogpost.

In order to provide the best user experience, Chrome now lets you inherently scope for user performance data and regressions to better understand your platform. This update introduces the PerformanceObserver API which allows developers to gather low level user-related information in real-time. The performance observer interface is enabled by default in this build. Instead of polling for updates, the developer has the option to select what metrics he’s interested in, then the browser shows you the changes in those data-points once they are updated.

In addition to this, Service workers can now stream http:// responses, allowing the page that made the request to start fetching data the moment it starts streaming. There is also the added support for VAPID, an open-source standard to authenticate your server with a web-push service. Sites are also given a Firebase Cloud Messaging endpoint that supports the cross-browser web push protocol.

Click here to know more about the security fixes and updates introduced in the Chrome 52 stable build.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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