RIP old-school Internet: Chrome 88 lays Flash and FTP to rest

End of two eras

Credit: Dreamstime

Google started rolling out Chrome 88 this week, and while browser releases usually herald what’s new, the most noteworthy change in this update is what’s not included. Chrome 88 lays Adobe Flash and the FTP protocol to rest. RIP circa-2000 Internet.

Neither comes as a surprise, though it’s poetic that they’re being buried together. Adobe halted Flash Player downloads at the end of 2020, making good on a promise made years before, and began blocking Flash content altogether a couple weeks later. Removing Flash from Chrome 88 is just Google’s way of flushing the toilet.

On the other hand, FTP isn’t dead, but it is now for Chrome users. The File Transport Protocol has helped users send files across the Internet for decades, but in an era of prolific cloud storage services and other sharing methods, its use has waned.

Google started slowly disabling FTP support in Chrome 86, per ZDNet, and now you’ll no longer be able to access FTP links in the browser. Look for standalone FTP software instead if you need it, such as FileZilla.

That’s not all. Mac users should be aware that Chrome 88 drops support for OS X 10.10 (OS X Yosemite). Yosemite released in 2014 and received its last update in 2017.

An array of features have also been added of course. Chrome now blocks non-encrypted downloads that originate on an encrypted webpage; improves behaviour with Windows 10’s dark theme; and optionally adds support for features like tab search, Chrome OS light and dark themes, and more discrete permission requests, though those require activating optional flags, as How To Geek explains.

But Google killing Flash and FTP might be the footnotes that hit old-school web users in the feels. Chrome 88 is rolling out now. You can force the download by opening Chrome’s options menu and heading to Settings > Help > About Chrome.

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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