Google has released Chrome 76 to the stable channel, pushing it out to everyone who uses the web browser. Alongside the usual litany of bug fixes come two changes that will affect users. One of which should help you circumvent soft paywalls.
What Are Hard and Soft Paywalls?
Paywalls are a growing trend, with major newspapers and other sites hiding their content behind them. Hard paywalls require payment before you can get anywhere close to the content, while other, softer paywalls let you read a number of articles for free every month.
Happy Chrome 76 Eve! pic.twitter.com/774D4xqe4P
— Blake Commagere (@commagere) July 29, 2019
While Chrome’s Incognito Mode should have prevented paywalled websites from knowing how many articles you have read, a loophole in Chrome’s FileSystem API allowed them to do just that. Now, Google is fixing that loophole to restore true private browsing.
How to Beat Paywalls Using Chrome
Google revealed it was fixing this loophole with the release of Chrome 76 in a post on The Keyword. Now, with Chrome 76 available, that loophole should have been closed, preventing websites with paywalls, as well as other sites, from tracking you.
All you need to do is visit a website such as The New York Times and the Washington Post while browsing in Incognito Mode. That is unless and until those publishers take steps to prevent people accessing content. Which could see them hardening their paywalls.
The other big change in Chrome 76 sees Flash being blocked by default. Google has been doing its utmost to kill Flash for several years, and in 2016, Chrome started using HTML5 by default. Now, with Chrome 76, Adobe Flash is blocked by default.
This means that Google is one step closer to eradicating Flash from its browser, which is timely given that Adobe plans to kill Flash for good in 2020. In the meantime you can still enable Flash again by clicking the lock icon to the left of a website’s address.
Update Your Browser to Chrome 76 Now
With Google releasing new versions of Chrome so often it’s rare that there are features worth talking about. However, Chrome 76 is an exception thanks to its ability to help you beat you soft paywalls and a move that takes us one step closer to killing Adobe Flash.
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