Chrome version 103 is here

Google seems to have nailed the 4-week update schedule which is now enjoyed by both the Chrome browser and ChromeOS. Like a clockwork mechanism, the latest versions of Chrome for desktop and Chrome for Android are now available and are expected to roll out for most users in the next few days. While this version doesn’t have many new features, there are some major additions and updates that will further improve the overall Chrome user experience and that’s just as important as brilliant new features. Right? Here’s a quick look at what’s new in Chrome 103 for desktop and Android.

Local fonts for web apps

Web apps have come a long way and products like Designer.io offer a wide variety of fonts for users creating graphic designs. Unfortunately, using locally installed fonts was never an option. Users were forced to use pre-installed fonts or import them manually. The new Local Fonts API will allow web access to fonts installed locally on a user’s device. Developers can learn how to use the API to call local characters in the Chrome developer post here.

ML-based notification blocking

Google invests heavily in machine learning and applies the technology to many of its services for the benefit of the end user. Chrome is no exception and with version 103, Google aims to reduce the hassle of unwanted notifications. As Michael pointed out earlier this month, Chrome will use machine learning on the browser to predict when a website notification is likely to be ignored by the user. This interaction will take place entirely in the browser and does not require the transfer of data to Google’s servers.

Faster page load speeds

Bundled in Chrome 103 is Response Code 103 Early Hints. (The fact that this is version 103 of Chrome is purely coincidental.) In short, response code 103 Early Hints will allow developers to improve Core Web Vitals which are at the heart of page load speed and can make or break a website. Hopefully this will improve the browsing experience across the board for most sites on the web.

Supports 103 Early Hints informational responses when navigating higher level frames. When a response 103 includes link headers, Chromium attempts to preload specified resources (including modulepreload) or to preconnect to specified sources before the final response is received. This offers web developers a way to optimize key web vital elements such as Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).

Status of the Chrome platform

AVIF access for web sharing

Chrome allows access to a variety of file types via the share sheet, and we can now add the .avif image format to the list. This will give social media sites, graphic design web apps, and many other websites the ability to use the latest file type with better compression than JPG, PNG, and even WebP images.

What else?

That’s all on the front end, but Chrome 103 is chock full of new developer tools. You can find the full update here and hear the news in the overview video below. Don’t forget that with Chrome 103 out there, ChromeOS 103 won’t be outdone. Expect the ChromeOS update later this week if all goes as planned.

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