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Google puts the last coat of polish on Chrome 61

WebUSB, WebShare, JavaScript Modules and more due any day now

Google has wrapped up coding the desktop version of Chrome 61, and will be rolling it out for Windows, Mac and Linux “over the coming days/weeks”.

Chrome 61 extends the visibility of USB-connected devices to Web apps. First proposed last year, WebUSB was pitched as an easier way to set up USB devices, since (for example) a vendor's site could use the API to push a config to a newly-connected gadget.

The feature's focus, Google says, is on specialist devices that don't have a standard way to advertise their capabilities. Keyboards or mice are easy, but as is explained in the specification, USB-connected educational devices (say, microscopes) or 3D printers aren't conveniently accessible.

There's also the vexed question of USB device updates: the Chrome devs explain WebUSB could let manufacturers update a device by getting users to visit the page and give permission to the update [What could possibly go wrong? - Reg].

The browser's devs are also proud of the rollout of the Web Share API (described in this 2016 post written when it hit the beta channel).

It's designed to make life easier for site operators to implant “share on” buttons, by calling the platform's share capability (Twitter, Facebook, and so on) instead of having to write code for those buttons into their page.

The release also fixes US$23,500 worth of bountied vulnerabilities (and a few without bounties), including patches in PDFium, WebGL, Skia, V8, Blink, and a potential HTTPS downgrade. The security updates are listed here.

Then we have JavaScript Modules: “Chrome 61 adds native support for JavaScript Modules via the script type=module element”, Pete LePage explains in this promotional video.

“That makes it possible for Chrome to fetch granular dependencies in parallel, taking advantage of caching, avoiding duplication across pages, and ensuring that the script executes in the correct order”, LePage says. ®

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