Google Chrome 56 Spotlights Unsecure HTTP Sites, Adopts Web Bluetooth API For Devices

Earlier this month, and right on schedule, Google released Chrome 55 which tackled high memory usage and put a tighter muzzle around Adobe Flash. Hot on the heels of Chrome 55 is the upcoming release of Chrome 56.

One of the biggest changes coming with Chrome 56 is the way that it treats HTTP websites. Up to this point, Chrome hasn’t exactly been hostile to HTTP connections, simply displaying an icon (a circle with an “i” inside) that when clicked displays the message “Your connection to this site is not secure”. However, Chrome 56 will begin clearly marking any HTTP site that collects passwords and credit cards as being insecure.

chrome 56

So not only will you see the familiar circular icon, but it will be joined to the right by the text “Not secure”. This change will occur in January 2017 when Chrome 56 is moved into the release channel. However, non-observant web users may still overlook this warning, given that its color blends in with its surroundings.

In subsequent versions of Chrome there will be a blaring red triangle with an exclamation point inside accompanied by a red “Not secure” label.

chrome future

“Studies show that users do not perceive the lack of a ‘secure’ icon as a warning, but also that users become blind to warnings that occur too frequently,” said Emily Schechter of the Chrome Security Team. “Our plan to label HTTP sites more clearly and accurately as non-secure will take place in gradual steps, based on increasingly stringent criteria.”

Chrome 56 will also introduce Web Bluetooth, which will allow sites to directly interact with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices using the Web Bluetooth API. Right now, Web Bluetooth is supported on Android, Chrome OS and Mac operating systems — there is no word of support for iOS or Windows 10. In the image below, you can see a web browser interacting directly with a heart rate sensor.

bluetooth heartrate

Chrome 56 is currently available in the beta channel for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, Mac, and Windows. It will enter the release channel next month.