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Google Chrome 76 beta makes Flash more difficult to use

Following last week’s launch of version 75 on Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux the next Google browser beta launch is rolling out. Chrome 76 features a number of user-facing modifications including default blocking of Flash, making it more difficult for sites to detect when using Incognito Mode to get around paywalls.

Google has been a large advocate of HTML5 for the previous decade, encouraging sites to turn off Flash for a quicker, safer, and more battery-efficient browsing experience. Chrome blocked background Flash components in late 2016 and early 2017 and defaulted to HTML5, with users having to manually allow site-by-site Adobe plug-in.

Adobe announced it would stop supporting Flash in July of that year, and Google announced it would remove the plug-in from its browser by the end of 2020.

By default, the Chrome 76 beta blocks the browser’s Flash. However, users still have the option to switch back to the present “Ask first” option— where after each browser restart explicit approval is needed — for several more versions.

Google Chrome developer Paul Irish claims websites will no longer be able to identify when your Chrome browser is in Incognito mode. That one will be painful for editors like The New York Times who use these detection systems to prevent you from reading an endless amount of free stories— and drive you to pay for a subscription.

Dark Mode itself also has an interesting improvement. Now, when you see your Dark Mode browser, web developers can program their applications to automatically serve up a dark version of their website, apparently just by adding some additional code.

Chrome 76’s stable (non-beta) release is planned for July 30th. In Google’s Chromium blog post, you can read about extra modifications. Today, many journals depend on subscriptions and will discourage you from watching papers in Private / Incognito Mode as a way to get around the boundaries of free article. Chrome 76 addresses one way, according to a Googler, that websites can detect if you’re using Incognito to get around a paywall. The release fixes how the FileSystem API is implemented by Chrome to prevent scripts “detecting personal mode” from taking benefit of that indicator.

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Louis Bruno

louis have been writing about tech since 2014 after spending 10 years in a computer research lab studying and improving the future of computers. He watches Netflix sci-fi with his pet, Casey enjoying snacks.

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