Google has started pushing out a version update to its Chrome browser, Chrome 67 (67.0.3396.62, to be exact), for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. The latest releases introduces several fixes and improvements, including password-free login support by way of WebAuthn, a new specification that is supported by default in Chrome 67. It’s the first stable release of Chrome to offer this ability.
WebAuth, or Web Authentication, is an API that allows for logging into websites using biometric schemes, such as fingerprint scanning and facial recognition technology. It also supports USB devices that can authenticate a user, such as a YubiKey. Google, along with Mozilla and Microsoft, have committed to adopting the WebAuthn API in an attempt to move beyond inputting traditional passwords.
“Security on the web has long been a problem which has interfered with the many positive contributions the web makes to society. While there are many web security problems and we can’t fix them all, relying on passwords is one of the weakest links. With WebAuthn’s multi-factor solutions we are eliminating this weak link,” stated W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe. “WebAuthn will change the way that people access the web.”
Another API that’s ingrained in Chrome 67 is the WebXR Device API. This is geared towards promoting virtual reality and augmented reality experiences. Leveraging this API, web developers are better equipped to enable consistent experiences across a range of VR and AR devices, including the crop of mixed reality headsets for Windows 10 that Microsoft and its hardware partners have been pushing.
Finally, Google plugged a whole bunch of security holes in Chrome 67, and continues to roll out Site Isolation to a larger percentage of the stable population. Site Isolation is designed to mitigate against Spectre and Meltdown, and it works by rendering sites in a dedicated process, isolated from other sites.
You can upgrade to Chrome 67 by clicking on the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner and navigating to Help > About Google Chrome.