Google Chrome will soon get a toolbar button for downloads, handwriting API, and more

Google is testing a number of improvements to its world's most popular web browser. In the current stable Chrome version, the Downloads option is buried in the main menu. To open it faster, it only offers you the Ctrl + J shortcut. Google wants to save you a couple of clicks by adding a new toolbar button.

Starting in Chrome 99, which is in BETA as of this writing, there is a new download button available in the toolbar. It is animated and reflects the active download state.

If you are downloading something, it appears blue. Once all your downloads are complete, it appears as a gray down arrow. Sadly, there is no progress indication as of now, but it will obviously become available pretty soon.

Earlier, the button was only available in the Canary version of the browser, and was limited to a small select group of testers. It is worth noting that the new download experience is very similar to what Microsoft Edge has had for a long time.

The next change is infamous Manifest V3 requirement for extensions. It is known for breaking ad blockers, at least for making them ineffective. Google won't accept new extensions that use the older Manifest V2 version to its web store, and will finally remove them from there in 2023.

Another change in Chrome 99 is a new a handwriting API. While not actually new to version 99 (it has been available since Chrome 91 for testing), it makes it first public appearance in this beta release. The new APIs allows developers to build web apps that supports drawing, and handwriting recognition with a pen or finger.

An API for web applications to make use of advanced handwriting recognition services (e.g. those on operating systems) to recognize text from handwriting drawings (inks) in real time. In this context, handwriting drawing means the temporal and positional information used to describe a human handwriting process.

You can find some more details here.

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