Samsung Internet 17.0: more privacy with smart anti-tracking and HTTPS by default and other features

Here are the latest updates on your favorite browser

We’re happy to announce our most recent update for Samsung Internet Beta 17.0, which is available to test right now. The update brings new features focused on privacy, safety, and of course User Experience.

If you want to start testing it today, you can download it here.

Photo by Bernd Dittrich on Unsplash

🕵️ Smart Anti-tracking:

When it’s about our core values, Privacy is on top, therefore we provide different ways to respect users’ data like Smart Anti-tracking which it’s a privacy and security feature that allows your mobile phone to automatically remove tracking cookies. Smart Anti-tracking uses on-device machine learning to identify trackers used by a website and remove them, preventing websites from seeing your online activities.

There are two new updates related to this feature that allows having your mobile protection even on a bigger scale:

  • Script-writable storage Tracking Protection: Client-side cookie

Now all client-side cookie expiry after 7 days to minimize user tracking/profiling.

  • Smart Anti-tracking is turned on by default 🎉

In certain regions like USA, Korea & Europe, Smart Anti-tracking will be enabled by default, this means that you don’t even have to worry to enable this setting to have an extra layer of protection, we do the work for you. On settings, Smart Anti-tracking would be set to ‘Always’ on fresh install scenarios, and also if you upgrade your browser and didn’t modify the Smart Anti-Tracking setting previously.

Smart anti-tracking enabled by default.

HTTPS scheme by default

When websites use HTTPS, they provide the safest way to transfer data between a browser and a server, that’s why users usually check before submitting any sensitive information like payment if the current page uses HTTPS. The problem is that it’s easy to forget about this and use HTTP by default in certain domains. Samsung Internet solves this problem using an HTTPS scheme by default when entering a URL, and falling back to HTTP version if needed.

Let’s say that we want to access a website that is not previously loaded with a domain like sinternet.com, with the current version of the browser it will load http://sinternet.com. After the new release, it will redirect by default to https://sinternet.com, if an error occurs it will retry with HTTP. To make sure that your website was redirected to HTTPS, you will notice a lock icon.

Again, privacy and safety are major concerns and as a result, Samsung Internet focuses on this as part of the browser goals.

HTTPS by default using unicef.org domain,

Privacy board on Quick Access Page

A new relevant panel is added to the Quick Access Page, the privacy board. This is a way to enhance the entry point for security & privacy settings so you can easily access these options. It also provides the ability to have Privacy reports (ON/OFF). Again, you don’t have to worry about setting up this feature as it’s on by default.

Privacy Board on Quick Access Page

Storage Access API

Storage Access API allows third-party embeds to enquire and request unrestricted access to storage under third-party context by creating a permission prompt.

The API provides methods that allow embedded resources to check whether they currently have access to their first-party storage, and to request access to their first-party storage from the user agent.

A third party website embed can call document.hasStorageAccess() to know if it has access to cookies. This will return false if the user agent is blocking 3rd party cookies due to current settings.

A third party website embed can call document.requestStorageAccess() which may create a permission prompt for the user. If the user allows, 3rd party cookie access will be allowed for this website pair even when 3rd party cookies were being blocked due to existing settings.

For more information about this feature, please visit the current github repository by the Privacy Group.

Tab Group

Not so long ago, Samsung Internet redesigned the way that tabs are shown to improve users’ navigation. We took this feature even further allowing users to add a tab to a group or create a new group through Drag & Drop.

Tab Groups are available in the bar.

Bottom URL bar

Samsung Internet is providing a new user experience more comfortable and practical, the url bar at the bottom. Now, when tapping the URL bar using the ‘bottom layout’, the URL bar will be shown directly above the keyboard when editing. All the basic functions and interactions are the same as the top layout.

Bottom URL bar

More UX Enhancements:

  • Shortcut to move to Customize menu: Move to Customize menu when long pressing on any button of Tools menu to make it easier to edit items
  • Drag and Drop in Bookmark: Provides Drag and drop to move bookmark item in the Bookmark bar
  • Video subtitle position enhancement: Subtitle position enhancement of Subtitle extension for Fullscreen video.

Other Feature Enhancements:

  • More languages on translator extensions: Including (Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, Vietnamese)

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on this new release — What’s your favorite feature?

If you find any bugs or issues, please let us know at: browser@samsung.com

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Laura Morinigo

Laura Morinigo

Google Developer Expert @Firebase, advocate, mentor, #VoiceFirst Enthusiast. Here to share thoughts and adventures. From Argentina to the world.