has begun rolling out a new version of its popular Chrome browser
for all available platforms, including Windows, Linux, Mac on the desktop, and Android and iOS on mobile. The new Chrome 76 update brings with it some nifty changes. Chief among them is a tougher stance against Adobe's troublesome Flash plugin—it is now blocked by default.
Flash is essentially a dead platform and browser plugin walking. Around this time in 2017, Adobe announced
that it was putting Flash on life support until 2020, at which point it plans on pulling the plug. The web at large has moved on to HTML5. However, there are still sites and services that use Flash. As such, Google still gives users the option of enabling the plugin in Chrome—you can find the switch by typing chrome://settings/content/flash
in the omnibox/address bar.
This will not always be an option, as Google will be removing the plugin from Chrome sometime next year. It's not clear when exactly that will be, though.
In addition to further ostracizing Flash from the browsing scene, Chrome 76 makes it tougher for paywalled websites to detect if a user is running in Incognito mode. This used to be a handy end-around to accessing paywalled content after running through whatever allotment of free articles a particular site permits. However, Chrome 76 integrates the FileSystem API that makes "detect private mode" scripts ineffective.
It will be interesting to see how some sites deal with this. In an era of ad blocking software, it has become increasingly difficult for sites to generate income while serving up 'free' content. An increasing number of sites have turned to a subscription-based format, usually with a few free articles each month. Naturally, we encourage supporting websites you frequent however you see fit.
Chrome 76 also makes it easier for users to install Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) on the desktop. It does this by adding an install button to the address bar (see embedded video above). In addition, it introduces wider support for dark mode.
If you already have Chrome installed, you can initiate an update by clicking on the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner and selecting Help > About Google Chrome
. Alternative, you can download a fresh installer