April 7, Google released the web browser “Google Chrome 81.0.4044.92 (81)”. It includes new features (like support for NFC).
Google Chrome 81 is the successor of Chrome 80, released in early February. Google usually follows a six-week cycle to release the latest version of Chrome. However, as Google announced in March that they will put a pause on working on the upcoming releases of Chrome and Chrome OS, this version came out behind schedule.
One of the notable new features is the support for Web NFC API. Thanks to this new feature, Chrome can be used to read and write to an NFC tag on a device with NFC (short-range high frequency wireless communication technology). For example, it can be used for showing additional information about a display in museums, scanning NFC badges at a conference, and simplifying inventory management.
As to Augmented Reality (AR), the support for WebXR Device API (fist introduced in Chrome 79) has been improved with Hit-test and AR Module . On the other hand, the plans to remove TLS 1.0/1.1 encryption protocols is postponed.
There are in total 32 security fixes. Based on the bug bounty program offered to bug fixes, the total payout is reported to be at least $26,500.
As a side note, although the release of version 81 was delayed due to the effect of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Google revealed that they have adjusted Chrome development and updates to skip Chrome 82 which was originally the next version of Chrome 81. Chrome 83 is scheduled to roll out in the middle of May.
Chrome 81 supports Linux, macOS, and Windows. It is available on the project website.