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The much-awaited Chrome 55 is finally here and it has begun rolling out to desktop computers (Linux, Mac and Windows), iOS devices and Android devices. True to their word, the Google team released version 55 in December along with the promised changes.

Chrome 55 was given the Stable status on December 1 for Linux, Mac and Windows. Updates started rolling out in the days and weeks that followed. One of the major promises Google made was fixing Chrome’s tendency to hog memory. And they delivered with a new V8 JavaScript engine in the latest version of Chrome.

Goodbye, Flash

Flash is another issue that is being addressed by Chrome. Starting with version 53, pages that were reliant on Flash as well as other elements were blocked on the web browser. Version 54 saw new changes with YouTube now using HTML5. All of these changes were made to not only improve security but also resolve power consumption issues and to increase load times.

In August 2016, it was announced that Chrome would be using HTML5 by default. This was a decision made to provide an environment that was safer and more power-efficient browsing environment. But this wasn’t a change that was to be implemented straightaway – it would be done gradually.

Chrome started disabling Adobe Flash Player unless a user requested they wanted Flash turned on. Starting with version 55, HTML5 will be enabled by default for 1% of users. HTML5 is also enabled for 50% of Chrome 56 – which is already in the beta stage and will be released in February 2017 – users.

Certain changes are also coming for version 55 in 2017. Beginning in January, users will be asked if they want to run Flash on a site they have not visited before. Since this could result in multiple prompts for one user – something which Chrome developers don’t want to do for their audience – tighter restrictions will be implemented. These restrictions will be handled by what’s called a Site Engagement Index which is a heuristic that determines the interaction level of a user on a specific site based on their browsing activity. Come October, every site will need user permission for Flash to be run.

Bug Fixes and Other Improvements

Version changes bring with them new features as well as bug fixes and other enhancements. The version 55 update of Chrome contains 36 security fixes including a few that were contributed by external researchers. The risk levels of the bugs were categorized as High, Medium or Low.

One of the enhancements to the web version was the location of the History page. With version 55, this can no longer be found under Settings.

Chrome 55 also rolled out to iOS and Android. Changes for iOS include being able to swipe down from the home screen in order to perform a search. The folder called All Bookmarks was also removed (this was a request made by users). The Android version also featured changes such as being able to download music and videos easily as well as viewing and sharing downloads within Chrome.