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Google Chrome 108 is coming today with lots of deprecations and improved COLRv1 support

It's been over a month since Chrome 107 landed with HEVC decoding support. Now, it's time for Chrome 108 which packs a lot of deprecations, backend changes, and developer-facing improvements. Unlike previous releases, this version does not seem to have pushback on any new feature from Apple's Safari team, Mozilla, or web developers.

Chrome 108 written on a dark background with some colors at the top and a crossmark at the bottom

We'll start off with deprecations this time to switch things up a bit. Due to extremely low usage, feedback from spec editors, and the constraints it poses on current implementations, the ImageDecoderInit.premultiplyAlpha feature is being deprecated. The navigateEvent.scroll() function is also being discontinued and replaced by restorescroll() because of the better behavior it offers. In the same vein, navigateEvent.transitionWhile() is being killed off and replaced by intercept() because of design flaws highlighted by web developers.

Additionally, the googIPv6: false attribute in mediaConstraint is being deprecated and removed. It is used to disable IPv6 in WebRTC but Google does not recommend doing this anymore since IPv6 has been the default for ages. Similarly, window.defaultStatus and window.defaultstatus are being deprecated because of fingerprinting concerns, low adoption from other browser vendors, and the fact that they do not affect the browser's behavior in any meaningful way.

There are a couple more deprecations being tested behind developer trials (flags) too. The first disallows the Web Payment API to bypass the connect-src CSP policy while fetching the manifest. Disabling this behavior enables better data security. The second feature on the chopping block is the PaymentInstruments API. It is being killed off due to privacy flaws and lack of adoption from other browser vendors. Similarly, the Merchant origin details in the "canmakepayment" service worker event is also being removed to improve user privacy.

Now that we are done with the deprecations, let's change gears to new features and other additions. Chrome 108 packs a better implementation of COLRv1 color gradient vector fonts through support of the "variable" functionality. Some of our readers may remember their introduction in Chrome 98 when they faced pushback from Apple. Google claims that Apple's Safari team is now "neutral" about the feature instead of being "negative".

There are tons of CSS changes too, you can see them listed below:

Other functionalities in tow include the ability for Android on-screen keyboards to resize the visual viewport by default, a Federated Credentials Management API for improved privacy, support for printing in LayoutNG, and updating of asynchronous methods to synchronous in SyncAccessHandle in the File System Access API.

Some minor improvements have also been made such as additional methods for the Array and TypedArray classes, the ability to use symbols as keys in WeakMap, modifications to Client Hints Header, and support for the wildcard character in permissions policy. Moreover, the Media Source Extensions (MSE) API can now be used by Workers and there is also a new NotRestoredReason API for the back/forward cache (BFcache).

Chrome 108 will start rolling out in the later hours of today. If Chrome does not automatically update to version 108, head over to Help > About Google Chrome to trigger the update once it becomes available. Next up is Chrome 109 which will hit the Beta channel on December 1, followed by a Stable release on January 10.

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