As reported by How-To Geek, Chrome 103 is arriving today for all Chromium-based browser users. While the list of new features is small this time around, there are three new options for desktop browsers, as well as one new change for Chrome on Android. If you want to see websites load faster and have more notification prompts blocked, you’ll want to update to 103 as soon as possible.
(Unlike last month’s Chrome 102 update, at this point 103 doesn’t seem to include patches for security vulnerabilities; if this update also turns out to be a security patch, rather than simply the feature drop it appears to be at the moment, we’ll update this article.)
Websites should load faster
With Chrome 103, Google’s browser now supports 103 Early Hints informational responses (the 103s in each title are a simple coincidence). This response code allows webpages to preload before you even click the link, which can speed up loading times by a few hundred milliseconds. That might not sound like a lot, but, over time, this short speed increase could save Chrome users a significant amount of collective load time. How will you spend your additional milliseconds?
You should see fewer notification prompts
How many websites do you actually want notifications from? If you’re like me, the answer is “none of them.” And yet so many websites send notification prompts every time you visit them, just in case you want constant Chrome updates from them all day long (or accidentally click “yes” when trying to make them go away).
Chrome 103 tackles this problem: Using machine learning, Chrome will now automatically block these prompts for you once it has decided you won’t want to receive notifications from the website. Personally, it could block all notification requests outright and I wouldn’t complain, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Web apps can use fonts on your computer
Chrome 103 marks the first time web apps can take advantage of fonts you have installed on your computer without needing to ask for permissions. It’s a small change, but one that should make using PWAs feel more like an everyday app.
Clean up your new tabs on Android (beta)
When you open a new tab on Chrome for Android, you’ll find the “Discover” feed, which shows you alerts and news the browser thinks you’re interested in. However, most of us aren’t interested in these highlights, especially if we’ve opened a new tab with an express purpose. Chrome 103’s beta introduces a new flag to eliminate the Discover feed, as well as the Following feed, for good.
If you’re running the beta, head to chrome://flags#feed-ablation, then enable the flag. When you open a new tab from now on, you will not see either the Discover or Following feeds. If you ever want to see them again, just head back to the same flag URL and disable the flag.
New developer features
With each new Chrome update comes new developer features. I’m not a developer, so I don’t tend to benefit from these updates, but you can check out the list of goodies from both the developer site and Chromium blog.
How to update Google Chrome to version 103
To update Chrome, click the three dots in the top-right corner of your browser window, then choose Help > About Google Chrome. Allow Chrome to check for a new update: When 103 is available, you’ll see it here. Click “Relaunch,” and Chrome 103 will be installed.
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