Google revealed plans to increase the use of machine learning in the company’s Chrome web browser to make it a “more useful browser”.
Google already uses machine learning in Chrome, for example, to improve accessibility. The company plans to expand the use of machine learning in the Chrome web browser in several areas in the future.
Chrome’s address bar may soon display icons using machine learning. Chrome will adjust the toolbar icons using machine learning to display the action that Google considers “most useful” in the situation.
Chrome can display a voice search icon to users, or a share icon on certain sites, using machine learning. A mockup of the feature shows how the feature could look on Chrome for Android. The dynamic icon, displayed on the right side of the address bar, is changed automatically using machine learning.
Google notes that users can customize the feature, but doesn’t provide details beyond that.
Some users may find the dynamic nature of the feature confusing, especially if the suggested action changes frequently. Since suggested actions are available elsewhere in Chrome, this may help inexperienced users the most.
Google highlights two additional uses of machine learning in the browser. The first improves safe browsing in the Chrome browser. Safe Browsing is a security feature that determines whether downloads and sites are safe or should be blocked.
Google rolled out a new machine learning model in March to Chrome, and the company says it improved the identification of potentially malicious sites by a factor of 2.5.
Soon, Chrome will use machine learning to make notification prompts less annoying for users. Chrome uses on-device machine learning to suppress notification prompts or display them to the user.
Chrome predicts when permission prompts are unlikely to be granted based on how the user has previously interacted with similar permission prompts, and silences these unwanted prompts. In the next version of Chrome, we’re launching an ML model that makes these predictions entirely on-device.
Machine learning will also be used by Chrome’s translation feature when users use Journeys in the browser. Journeys is a browsing history add-on that groups history pages based on topics.
Machine learning is already used to determine if page content needs to be translated. Google boasts of seeing “tens of millions of successful translations every day” because of this.
Chrome benefits from machine learning in some areas, such as safe browsing and malicious site detection. In other areas, machine learning attempts to determine a user’s next action, or desired actions, to improve usability. The changing address bar icon is a great example. while it may prove useful for some, it may irritate others, especially if accidental activations of unwanted actions result. The feature gives Google suggestion powers and more control over user actions.
Now you: what do you think of the announced changes?