Chrome 67: wider Site Isolation roll out

Google started the roll out of Google Chrome 67, a new version of the company’s web browser, today. The new version of Chrome is a security release first and foremost.

Google Chrome users on the desktop can run manual checks for updates to get the browser update right away; considering that Chrome 67 fixes 34 security issues, several of them rated as high, the second highest rating after critical, it is important that users update the browser to the new version as soon as possible.

Just load chrome://settings/help in the Chrome address bar to run a manual check for update. Please note that this works only on desktop versions of Chrome and not mobile versions. Unless you download and install Chrome 67 from mirror sites that are not official, you have to wait for Google to distribute the browser to your device.

Google continues the roll out of Site Isolation in Chrome. The feature landed in Chrome 63 but it was turned off initially as Google wanted to test the functionality on a small subset of users before it widened the audience.

Site Isolation, or Strict Site Isolation, limits render processes to individual sites. Instead of handling multiple sites in a single render process, Chrome will move any additional site loaded on a website in its own process. Sites can be loaded using iframes and other means.

Site Isolation improves stability and security but it comes at the cost of increased memory usage. Google stated that initial tests showed that memory usage might increase by up to 20%.

Google enabled the feature for part of the Chrome userbase but it included an experimental flag in the browser which provided anyone with the option to enable it in Chrome (check out the linked article above for instructions).

Chrome users who have been selected for the Site Isolation trial may disable it in two ways:

Set chrome://flags#enable-site-per-process to disabled
Set chrome://flags#site-isolation-trial-opt-out to “Opt-out (not recommended)”.

Google notes that users may run into issues when they try to load certain sites in Chrome. Another reason for wanting to disable Site Isolation is the increase in memory usage. If you notice Chrome’s memory usage going way up, you may want to check if the feature has been enabled for the installation.

Chrome 67 features plenty of under-the-hood changes. You find some of them mentioned on the official Chromium Blog (focusing on Developer additions); notable additions are inclusion of a Generic Sensor API to work with sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, or motion sensors, the new WebXR Device API for AR and VR experiences, and support for the Web Authentication API.

May 30, 2018