[Update: Rolling out] Google Chrome 89 features: Search for open tabs, prefer https to http, less intrusive permission requests, & more

New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….

Original story (published on March 02, 2021) follows:

Google released the update to Chrome 88 for Windows, Mac and Linux users only a few weeks ago, but we already have eyes on the upcoming Chrome 89 update.

The wait for Chrome 89 update to begin rolling out could last a few more weeks, during which Google will be working on a number of new features expected to be part of this version.


In case you didn’t know, Google publishes a list of new features, enhancements, and tweaks to expect in upcoming versions of Chrome as part of the current release notes.

That said, here’s a sneak preview of what to expect in Chrome 89 update courtesy of Chrome 88 enterprise release notes.

Search open tabs

Google first introduced the ability to search open tabs in Chrome back in August 2020, but this was limited to Chrome OS. Later in the year, the feature appeared in Chrome Canary, implying that it was close to rolling out.

With the update to Chrome 88 missing out, Google now says users can expect support for tab search to arrive with Chrome 89 update. Below is a shot of the feature in work.

Click/tap to view

Chrome 89 will prefer https to http

Earlier this year, the guys at 9to5Google revealed that Google had plans to ring some security-related changes with a near-future Chrome update.

At the time, the publication discovered a new Google Chrome flag meant to auto-connect to HTTPS versions of websites in the event that you keyed the insecure HTTP version in the address bar.

The feature was expected to show up in Chrome 88, but we all know what went down. And now, Google says that the update to Chrome 89 will be the one to switch you to HTPPS before falling back to http if https is unavailable.

When a user types an address into the address bar without specifying the protocol, Chrome will attempt to navigate using https first, then fallback to http if https is not available. For example, if the user navigates to google.com, Chrome will first attempt to navigate to https://google.com, then fallback to http://google.com if required.

Google notes that iOS users will have to wait until the update to Chrome 90 for this feature to go live. As for those on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android, it will be part of Chrome 89.

Less intrusive permission requests

Another improvement to expect with the upcoming Chrome 89 update, which is currently in beta, is a less intrusive UI. Below is what Google has to say on this enhancement:

Permission requests that the user is unlikely to allow will be automatically blocked. A less intrusive UI will allow the user to manage permissions for each site.


There is plenty to expect when the stable update to Chrome 89 goes live, probably this month or maybe in April. But Google warns that some features might change, be delayed, or canceled before the stable arrives.

To get acquainted with what’s coming after Chrome 89, do check out the official notes from Google here. Of course, we will keep an eye on this update and let you know when these features begin rolling out.

Update (March 04)

Google Chrome 89 has started rolling out in stable to Windows, Mac and Linux users. The update, as promised, brings support for Tab Search, revamped Chrome profiles, and a Reading list under the star icon in the URL bar.

This version will also use HTTPS before reverting to the insecure HTTP versions of websites and improves connectivity with human interface devices (keyboards, gamepads, etc.) thanks to WebHID API, which is now enabled by default.

The Web Serial API in Chrome 89 eliminates the need for adapters/drivers to control 3D printers and microcontrollers. For Android users, this edition brings Web NFC that allows websites to communicate with NFC tags.

Going forward, Android devices will also be able to decode AVIF images natively for faster loading, a feature the desktop version picked up a while ago.

There is more in this update that you can check out here.

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Hillary Keverenge

Review Editor. Besides phones, I also enjoy the farm, music, football, and, of course, food.