Chrome 55 released into stable channel: Flash now blocked for most sites

For those that may not have realized, Google released the latest version of its Chrome browser into the mainstream earlier this week which brought the popular browser up to version 55.

The major update includes no less than 36 security fixes which mitigate a variety of issues including XSS (cross-site scripting), same-origin bypass, and buffer overflow vulnerabilities. Notably, 26 of the fixes were contributed by external researchers who were collectively paid a total of more than $64,000 by Google for their efforts.

Chrome 55 also includes some improvements to usability, including keenly awaited tweaks to the V8 JavaScript engine which, according to internal tests, would provide a 50% average reduction in memory consumption. While this will have the most impact on devices with lower amounts of RAM, including smartphones and tablets, all users will stand to benefit from the V8 optimizations.

A more visual improvement included in Chrome 55 is the addition of CSS automatic hyphenation. This will become apparent when viewing line wrapped text with the aim of improving readability and consistency of paragraphed text.

In perhaps the most user impacting update to the browser, Chrome 55 will now, by default, block Adobe Flash content in favor of HTML5 as signaled by Google earlier this year.

When a user encounters a site lacking HTML5 capability, Chrome will prompt the user and ask them to permit the Flash content to run. However, in order to minimize disruption to the user experience, Google has exempted Flash-only websites in addition to the top ten websites, specifically:

  • Facebook.com
  • YouTube.com
  • Yahoo.com
  • Live.com
  • VK.com
  • Yandex.ru
  • Twitch.tv
  • OK.ru
  • Amazon.com
  • Mail.ru

However, the exemption only applies for a year after which Flash content will be blocked by default for all sites and Chrome users will be required to provide their permission to view such content.

Usually, Chrome will update itself silently and automatically but, if you're one to go days or weeks between browser restarts, you can relaunch Chrome now to obtain the latest update.

Sources: Chrome Releases Blog, 9to5Google

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