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Google Chrome 88 is out and waves goodbye to old tech

Version 88 of the Google Chrome web browser is out in the wild and is historically significant as the first to arrive without the doomed Adobe Flash plug-in.

Adobe finally announced that Flash, which powered many of the early gaming and video (oh and lots of ads) in the early era of the web, would be shutdown for good on December 31 2020. The software giant also said from January 12, Flash Player would no longer run videos and animations.

The new version of Chrome is the first to reflect that absence, with research suggesting the use of Flash has plummeted to under 2.2% of websites containing any of the plug-in’s code. ZDNet says that figure was 28.5% a decade ago.

Elsewhere, Google has also removed support for FTP URLs in Chrome 88 (for example ftp:// addresses), which have long been used for easy file transfers online. The company says the feature isn’t widely used (probably given the prominence of cloud platforms) and says there’s still plenty of dedicated options if folks want to exchange files in this manner.

“Usage of FTP in the browser is sufficiently low that it is no longer viable to invest in improving the existing FTP client. In addition, more capable FTP clients are available on all affected platforms,” Google writes on its Chrome development site.

Google also says it is blocking mixed, insecure downloads. For example, if you’re trying to download from a https:// secure website, but the download source starts with http:// (insecure), Google won’t allow it.

Also gone is support for Mac OS Yosemite, with OS X 10.11 required with all new versions from now on. There’s better news for Windows 10 users with an improved dark theme that now applies to scroll bars, the settings, new tab page and more.

Chrome 88 can be downloaded now on the usual platforms.

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