Chrome update brings better Incognito, kills Flash by default

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Google-Chrome
It's now possible to bypass certain paywalls.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Google Chrome just got a big new update that improves upon two important features.

The version 76 release disables Flash by default to improve browsing performance, while Incognito Mode has been tweaked to prevent websites from detecting it.

The change means that you will now be able to bypass paywalls on some websites.

Despite a huge decline in Flash — largely kickstarted by Steve Jobs and the rise of mobile devices — Adobe’s platform just won’t die. Many websites still use it, and it’s still a bloated, insecure mess.

But now Google is clamping down on the use of Flash, too.

Chrome 76 leaves Flash out in the cold

Chrome has long shipped with Flash baked-in, so you don’t need to download Flash Player separately. But as of version 76, it is blocked by default, so you won’t see Flash content while you browse.

You can reenable Flash if need be, but most users will never have to worry about that. You might assume this is another big blow for the future of Flash, but even creator Adobe has already called time on it.

An announcement in July 2017 confirmed plans to eliminate Flash once and for all by 2020. If you use Safari, you will have already been enjoying a Flash-free web browsing experience for years.

A better Incognito Mode

This Chrome update also improves Incognito Mode. It’s no longer possible for websites to detect you’re browsing privately, or to read and write cookies to your devices.

This allows users to bypass paywalls on many websites that give visitors free access to a certain number of pages or articles. They will no longer have the ability to see how many times you’ve visited.

We will likely see new methods of forcing users into a paywall later — like making account logins mandatory — but you can take advantage of the change for the time being.

Upgrade to Chrome 76 today

For more on the Chrome 76 update, check out the video below.

You can download the latest Chrome release on Windows and macOS today.