Google has announced that it will start implementing its proposal from last year to block some downloads via HTTP that it considers to be risky. Google reached out to other browser makers with this proposal back in April of 2019 and is now formally making these changes in the Chrome browser. Additionally, according to the new advertising standards set by Coalition for Better Ads, Chrome will block some ads in video players.
Chrome 83, which will be released in June, will not ban all HTTP downloads but only the ones where the website is loaded via HTTPS but the downloads are not. Google stated that in some cases the websites that had HTTPS in the URL made users believe that the downloads from that page were also via HTTPS.
Google also addressed the fact that in cases like intranet setups, HTTP downloads might be more secure that is why it implemented a policy that can allow downloads via HTTP in controlled environments. This policy is called ‘InsecureContentAllowedForUrls' and users can hop on to Google Chrome Canary and test if their website complies with this new policy. To do so, they will have to enable the Chrome flag - “chrome://flags/#treat-unsafe-downloads-as-active-content”
Google will be implementing these changes in the following timeline:
Chrome 81 (March 2020): All mixed content downloads on Chrome will get a console message warning.
Chrome 82 (April 2020): Warning for mixed content downloads of executables.
Chrome 83 (June 2020): Mixed content executables will be blocked. Warning for disk images (.iso) and mixed content archives (.zip).
Chrome 84 (August 2020): Mixed content executables, disk images, and archives will be blocked. Warning for all mixed content downloads excluding video, image, text formats, and audio.
Chrome 85 (September 2020): Warning for mixed content downloads of text, audio, images, and video. All other mixed content downloads will be blocked.
Chrome 86 (October 2020) onwards: The browser will block all mixed content downloads.
In a blog post, Chrome team stated that since mobile platforms are relatively more secure against malicious files, the release of these new features will be delayed for iOS and Android users. During this time, Google is expecting developers to start working towards updating their websites for mobile users.
Google and several international advertising associations have come up with new advertising guidelines that will force Chrome to block intrusive banner ads, all mid-roll ads, and some pre-roll ads. These guidelines will be implemented on videos that are under eight minutes, also called short form videos. This means pre-roll ads that are longer than 31 seconds and do not give users the option to skip within five seconds will be blocked. All mid-rolls ads will also be blocked. Additionally, Chrome will block ads that obscure more than 20 percent of the video.
These new guidelines mean everybody's favourite video-sharing platform, YouTube, will also have to rework its advertising strategy. Though, there is no set timeline for this.