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Google Chrome 76 arrives, makes it harder to use Flash and easier to dodge paywalls

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Publishers aren’t going to be happy about this

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Google Chrome’s last big feature was dark mode in Chrome 73 and 74, and version 75 didn’t bring much of note, but Chrome 76, out in stable form today, has some sneaky features you may want to know about.

While Adobe Flash won’t truly die till 2020 and has been blocked by every major browser in one way or another for several years now, Chrome 76 is taking it one step further. Not only are individual Flash items blocked by default, but now the entire browser feature is off by default as well. If you head over to chrome://settings/content/flash, you should see the with the little “Ask First” setting flipped off instead of on, according to 9to5Google.

Another somewhat covert tweak: Google Chrome developer Paul Irish says that websites will no longer be able to detect when your Chrome browser is in Incognito Mode. That one’s going to be pain for publishers like The New York Times which use those detection schemes to keep you from reading an infinite number of free stories — and steer you into paying for a subscription.

There’s also an intriguing enhancement for Dark Mode itself. Now, web developers can program their sites to automatically serve up a dark version of their website when it sees your Dark Mode browser, seemingly just by adding a little bit of extra code.

You can read about additional changes in Google’s Chromium blog post.

Update, July 30th: Chrome 76 is now out of beta, right on schedule.