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Google’s newest Chrome update makes it easier to avoid paywalls

Published Jul 31st, 2019 6:50AM EDT
Google Chrome 76
Image: Valentin Wolf/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

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Google explained a few days ago that it plans to fix a security issue in Chrome that allows websites to tell whether you’re browsing in incognito mode. One of the side effects of this fix is that users will be able to avoid paywalls easier than before, something that Google addressed in its initial announcement.

Chrome 76, the update the fixes the loophole is already available for download, and you can update it on Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows right away.

Once Chrome 76 is installed, publishers won’t be able to tell whether you’re in incognito mode any longer. You’ll be able to browse content on sites that have metered paywalls without actually paying a subscription once the free number of articles expires. That is, assuming those sites won’t make any drastic changes of their own, like eliminating the limited free tier altogether.

On top of preventing sites from detecting incognito mode, Google added other features to Chrome 76, including default Flash blocking, as well as support for allowing websites to enable dark page versions automatically.

Chrome 76 will also add a new system-level “Install” shortcut for Progressive Web Apps inside the Omnibox, next to the “star” icon. Per 9to5Google the feature will let you install an app associated with a website, if such an app exists.
If you haven’t received your Chrome 76 installation, just make sure to check for updates, and the new release should present itself.

The following video shows all the changes in Chrome 76, although the clip targets developer rather than regular internet users:

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.