Chrome 63 puts bad sites in solitary confinement


— 2:19 PM on December 7, 2017

Memes about Google Chrome's relatively heavyweight memory usage are widespread on the internet, regardless of whether they're justified. It's true that when it came about, Chrome liked to gobble up the gigabytes, but that was mostly due to its then-innovative sandboxed nature. That sandbox just got even more secure with Chrome version 63. The latest version brings the long-awaited site isolation feature to Chrome's stable channel.

In simple terms, site isolation lets users force a website to run in a completely separate Chrome process. This has huge benefits for security, as even if a malicious website or app manages to break out of its sandbox it still won't be able to affect data on other sites or apps. Site isolation can be enabled globally or on a per-site basis. Google says that enabling site isolation will increase memory usage by between 10% and 20%, though.

There are a number of other nifty improvements in Chrome 63. The chrome://flags internal configuration page has been reworked and will automatically shift OS and platform-specific flags to a secondary tab. A new device memory JavaScript API lets sites check available device memory for the purpose of selectively loading lightweight content on low-end devices. Chrome now supports the TLS 1.3 and NTLMv2 security protocols, too.

Most Chrome users will have either already updated by the time they read this, or will get the the new version within the next few days. As usual, if you want the new stuff right now, you can open up the "About Google Chrome" item under "Help" to check your version and force an update.

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