Bookmarks and settings synchronization
Chrome allows users to synchronize their bookmarks, history, and settings across all devices with the browser installed by sending and receiving data through a chosen Google Account, which in turn updates all signed-in instances of Chrome. This can be authenticated either through Google credentials, or a sync passphrase.
Web standards support
The first release of Google Chrome passed both the Acid1 and Acid2 tests. Beginning with version 4.0, Chrome has passed all aspects of the Acid3 test. On the HTML5 web standards test, Chrome 41 scores 518 out of 555 points, placing it ahead of the five most popular desktop browsers.
Google Chrome periodically retrieves updates of two blacklists; one for phishing and one for malware, and warns users when they attempt to visit a site flagged as potentially harmful. This service is also made available for use by others via a free public API called “Google Safe Browsing API.
Google introduced download scanning protection in Chrome 17.
Google Chrome supported, up to version 45, plug-ins with the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI). However, NPAPI support could be enabled through thechrome://flags menu, until the release of version 45 in September 2015, that removed NPAPI support entirely.
The private browsing feature called Incognito mode prevents the browser from permanently storing any history information or cookies from the websites visited. Incognito mode is similar to the private browsing feature in other web browsers. In contrast to what a user might expect from using a mode called “incognito”, it only prevents saving history and it doesn’t prevent saving in all windows: “You can switch between an incognito window and any regular windows you have open. You’ll only be in incognito mode when you’re using the incognito window”
Chrome sends details about its users to Google through both optional and non-optional user tracking mechanisms.
Do Not Track
In February 2012, Google announced that Chrome would support Do Not Track (DNT) by the end of 2012 and the protocol was implemented on version 23. In line with the W3’s draft standard for DNT, it is turned off by default in Google Chrome.
Google Chrome is powered by the WebKit open-source rendering engine and loads web pages in a snap. Like most major web browsers, Chrome utilizes the faster SPDY protocol instead of HTTP when communicating with servers that support it, such as Google services, Facebook, Twitter, and other websites.
A multi-process architecture is implemented in Google Chrome where, by default, a separate process is allocated to each site instance and plugin. This procedure is termed process isolation, and it prevents tasks from interfering with each other, raising security and stability. An attacker successfully gaining access to one application gains access to no others, and failure in one instance results in a Sad Tab screen of death, similar to the well-known Sad Mac, but only one tab crashes instead of the whole application. This strategy exacts a fixed per-process cost up front, but results in less memory bloat over time as fragmentation is confined to each instance and no longer needs further memory allocations. This architecture was adopted in Safari and Firefox.
By default, the main user interface includes back, forward, refresh/cancel and menu buttons. A home button is not shown by default, but can be added through the Settings page to take the user to the new tab page or a custom home page.
Tabs are the main component of Google Chrome’s user interface and as such, have been moved to the top of the window rather than below the controls. This subtle change contrasts with many existing tabbed browsers which are based on windows and contain tabs. Tabs, with their state, can be transferred seamlessly between window containers by dragging. Each tab has its own set of controls, including the Omnibox.
One of Google Chrome’s differentiating features is the New Tab Page, which can replace the browser home page and is displayed when a new tab is created.
Google Chrome includes a bookmarks submenu that lists the user’s bookmarks, provides easy access to Google Chrome’s Bookmark Manager, and allows the user to toggle a bookmarks bar on or off.
Google Chrome has special URLs that load application-specific pages instead of websites or files on disk. Chrome also has a built-in ability to enable experimental features. Originally called about:labs, the address was changed to about:flags to make it less obvious to casual users.
Desktop shortcuts and apps
Chrome allows users to make local desktop shortcuts that open web applications in the browser.
Many Google Chrome extensions, once installed, have access to the user’s data. There are three levels of permissions that an app or extension may request.
On May 27, 2014, Google issued an update to Google Chrome preventing Windows users from installing extensions obtained outside the Chrome Web Store.
Starting with Google Chrome 3.0, users can install themes to alter the appearance of the browser. Many free third-party themes are provided in an online gallery, accessible through a “Get themes” button in Chrome’s options.
Automatic web page translation
Starting with Google Chrome 4.1 the application added a built-in translation bar using Google Translate. Translation is currently available for 52 languages. When Chrome detects a foreign language other than the user’s preferred language as set during the installation time, it asks the user whether or not to translate.