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Google Chrome Now Helps You Beat Paywalls

Dave Parrack 31-07-2019

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.

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 Google Chrome Kills Flash, Using HTML5 by Default Google is finally ditching Adobe Flash, and switching to HTML5 by default. If everything goes according to plan, Adobe Flash will be virtually dead by October 2017. Read More . 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 Adobe Is Finally Killing Flash... in 2020 Adobe has announced it's killing Flash. This is it, with Flash going away for good. No comebacks, no last-minute reprieves, gone but not forgotten. Read More .

Image Credit: Barta IV/Flickr

Explore more about: Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Private Browsing.

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