Google Chrome 97 Introduces Controversial Keyboard API

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Google Chrome 97 is expected to be released later today. The new stable version of Google Chrome will be rolled out via the browser’s automatic update system from today.

The release of Chrome 97 has been delayed for several weeks due to the holiday season in many parts of the world. Google Chrome 96, the last major stable release in 2021, was released on November 16, 2021.

The new version of Google Chrome is launched with a controversial Keyboard MAP API. The API could not be used previously by some web experiences because it could not be used in iframes. Applications such as Microsoft’s Office web applications could not use the API to detect key presses on keyboard layouts. Keyboard layout differs by region or language. The change makes the functionality available to web applications that are inside iframes.

here is official explanation of why the feature was implemented:

getLayoutMap () used in conjunction with the code fixes the problem of identifying the actual key pressed in the keyboard with different layout maps such as English and French keyboards, but since getLayoutMap () is not available in all contexts ( cannot be used in iframes), Office web applications like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc. that show up as built-in experiences in Outlook Web, Teams, and more. and run in iframes, cannot use this API.
Adding keyboard-map to the list of allowed attributes resolves this issue.

Mozilla, Apple, Brave and other browser developers have raised concerns. One of the main arguments made by companies against integration into their browsers was that sites could use the feature for fingerprinting purposes.

Apple published a response on GitHub, indicating:

As I noted in person some time ago, the Keyboard Map API as proposed exposes a high entropy fingerprint surface. This is not acceptable from the point of view of confidentiality. As a result, Apple’s WebKit team is not interested in implementing this feature as it is currently offered / specified.

Brave Software, creator of the Brave browser, had that to say:

Brave inherits from the Chrome implementation of the Keyboard API which does not provide any functionality to the user (only Chrome and Opera support it, and to my knowledge no site actually uses it). However, the API can be used for fingerprints.

WICG Keyboard Map Draft mentions that the API can be used for fingerprinting of:

Users who use uncommon ASCII layouts (like Dvorak or Colemak)
Users who use an ASCII layout that does not match the default layout for the region they are in. For example, a user in the United States with an active UK or French layout.

Mozilla has finally added the Keyboard Map API to the list of harmful APIs that it will not implement in the Firefox web browser.

Google will implement the API in Chrome, but many other browsers, even those based on Chromium, will either not implement it or disable the API so that it cannot be used by websites.

Interested users can check out other features of Chrome 97 here.

Now you: what is your favorite browser at the moment?

Summary

Google Chrome 97 Introduces Controversial Keyboard API

Article name

Google Chrome 97 Introduces Controversial Keyboard API

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Google Chrome 97 is expected to be released later today. The new stable version of Google Chrome will be rolled out via the browser’s automatic update system from today.

Author

Martin brinkmann

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Ghacks Technology News

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