O Google launched on Tuesday (30) version 76 of Chrome, which comes with security fixes, internal improvements and two important changes: the sites will no longer be able to detect that you are browsing in anonymous mode; and it will be even more difficult to access pages that depend on the Flash plugin.
The change in anonymous mode makes it easier to circumvent sites with paywall. Media companies know that users try to circumvent the blocks through an anonymous window, which does not contain cookies that signal how many stories have been read. For this reason, they usually prevent access to the content completely when they detect that the navigation is being done in this way.
But Google fixed the problem in the new Chrome. “Fixed it” because the sites took advantage of an old implementation of the FileSystem API (used for saving, modifying and deleting files), which is disabled in an anonymous tab. The pages triggered the API, received an error message and therefore discovered that it was an incognito window. The loophole no longer exists in Chrome 76.
The new Chrome also places another nail in the Flash coffin. The Adobe plugin will have its distribution stopped only in 2020, but it is already partially blocked in most browsers. In the case of Chrome, since the end of 2016, Flash-based background files have been blocked to save energy, and HTML5 has become a standard on websites like YouTube.
Chrome now blocks any Flash content by default, not just specific elements. And the option “Ask first”, which shows a window asking if you really want to activate Flash for a given website, is now disabled by default, preventing the plugin from running. This further discourages the use of Flash, which is currently on only 3.3% of websites.
Chrome 76 is already being distributed for Windows, macOS and Linux. You can also download it manually this page.