Google Chrome 99 Released, This What's New

The Google Chrome developer team has announced the availability of the stable version of 99 of the world's most popular web browsers. This release comes, as usual, four weeks after the previous version 98, and a few weeks away from the upcoming Chrome 100 release that is expected to cause some problems for website owners.

Chrome 100 will be released in late March (2022) and is the first major three-digit release. Websites usually send a user agent string request in the HTTP headers, so the servers can identify the browser. If the request returns a three-digit value but the website expects two digits, the site may stop working.

To make sure your site won't be affected by this change, Google recommends enabling the #force-major-version-to-100 tag on the Chrome flags page, which will change the current version number to 100, letting you know if your site will work as expected after version 100 of the browser is released.

The date picker UI varies by operating system (from left to right: Chrome desktop, Chrome mobile, Safari desktop, Safari mobile, and Firefox desktop)

Now back to Google Chrome 99, the browser now lets websites use your operating system’s date, time, and color picker, rather than relying on external widgets for this, allowing websites to offer users the same pickers they used to use in other places and apps of the OS, which improves the user experience.

Chrome browser also allows uninstalling Web Apps through Windows settings, in the same way as any other installed Win32 application. This makes all app uninstalls in one place, which of course improves the user experience on Windows, and also makes web apps act like regular Win32 apps.

This new version introduces as well, a new handwriting API for web applications, to take advantage of advanced handwriting recognition services (such as those found in operating systems) to recognize text from handwriting drawings in real-time, without having to use any third-party integration. This API makes it easier to develop web applications that process handwriting inputs (e.g., note-taking app).

Finally, Chrome 99 allows web app developers to include a user_preferences member within the web application manifest to enable it to appear in dark or light mode automatically depending on the user's choice. In addition, this release comes also with a new web app manifest field to define a theme color and background color to use when the system theme is dark.

This version may not contain any visible UI-level updates other than some improvements and new tools for developers, but in addition to that, it comes with a fix for a total of 28 security bugs, so it is recommended that you update to this new version of Chrome as soon as possible.

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