Google Chrome 88 is a security update and the first Chrome version without Flash

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 20, 2021
Google Chrome

Google released Chrome 88 for all supported operating systems, the desktop platforms Windows, Linux and Mac, for Android and Chrome OS, on January 19, 2021. The release is a security update that patches a total of 36 different security vulnerabilities, one of which rated as critical. It is also the first stable version of the Chrome web browser that drops Adobe Flash support.

The update is distributed to all systems automatically. Desktop users may run a manual check for updates to update Chrome directly; Google rolls out updates over time to the entire population and that may lead to delays before the new version becomes available. Either load chrome://settings/help in the Chrome address bar or select Menu > Help > About Google Chrome to run a manual check.

google chrome 88

The current version is displayed on the page that opens, and Chrome will download the new version to install it. A restart of the browser is required to complete the update.

The Chrome Releases blog lists some of the security fixes of Chrome 88 (only those reported by third-parties). CVE-2021-21117 received a rating of critical, the highest severity rating, several ratings of high, the second highest rating.

Adobe Flash is gone

The biggest change in Chrome 88 is that Google removed Adobe Flash from the browser. Chrome shipped with its own Flash component and that component is now gone so that Flash content cannot be loaded in Chrome anymore. Flash will be removed from browsers and also operating systems such as Windows. Windows users get an end-of-life popup for instance if Flash is still installed on a system.

FTP support is disabled, or is it?

chrome ftp

Google announced the plan to deprecate ftp support in 2015 but has postponed the execution several times in the past. FTP support is removed by Google because Chrome does not support "encrypted connections" or proxies in its FTP implementation. Google notes that usage is low and that third-party FTP programs are a better option for users going forward.

The company planned to drop FTP support for 50% of users in Chrome 87, then for all users in Chrome 88, and remove FTP code from Chrome 89. An experimental flag, Enable support for FTP URLs, is available in Chrome 87 and 88 to restore the functionality.

A quick test without the flag enabled revealed that FTP access was still available after upgrading to Chrome 88. It looks as if Google postponed the removal once again. The page on the Chrome Platform Status website has not been updated at the time of writing to reflect that.

Mixed Content protection is complete

chrome insecure images

Google revealed in 2019 that the company's Chrome web browser will upgrade or block mixed content, files that are loaded insecurely on HTTPS pages. Content was divided into types and Chrome started to display warnings and to block certain types in previous releases already.

Chrome 88 blocks insecure image, audio, video, and text files from being loaded if they are served over an insecure connection on HTTPs sites and cannot be upgraded.

Other changes in Chrome 88

Here is a list of other changes of Chrome 88:

  • Dropped support for OS X 10.10. Chrome requires OS X 10.11 or newer on Mac OS devices going forward.
  • Google is testing less-intrusive permission prompts. You need to enable chrome://flags/#permission-chip to unlock the feature. Permission requests are displayed in the browser's address bar after making the change.
  • Chrome desktop users may enable Tab Search by setting the flag chrome://flags/#enable-tab-search to enabled.
  • Chrome 88 supports the controversial Manifest v3 for extensions.

Now You: what is your take on this new Chrome version?

Google Chrome 88 is a security update and the first Chrome version without Flash
Article Name
Google Chrome 88 is a security update and the first Chrome version without Flash
Google released Chrome 88 for all supported operating systems, the desktop platforms Windows, Linux and Mac, for Android and Chrome OS, on January 19, 2021.
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  1. Jose A Ortiz said on July 26, 2022 at 1:08 am

    Any link to download OS flex? All links on the Internet are fake, you find somerhing like this
    ‘download OS flex” but then you are redirect to a different website

  2. Anonymous said on February 9, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    Did they break the blocking of incognito detection in this release? Seems to be the case.

  3. Keely Thomas said on February 5, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    It seems that with this update, the Google Encrypted address bar search ( no longer works and just redirects to a regular google homepage. Any idea on how to fix?

  4. Eric Nyquist said on January 28, 2021 at 5:58 am

    Same as Raya. My camera still works in Zoom and it still works if I load Meet on another browser. But when I use Chrome to open Meet….I see myself but the other people in the meeting cannot. It is clearly something with the Chrome update.

    1. District 50 said on February 4, 2021 at 9:02 pm

      We’ve seen this issue with Macbooks after Chrome was updated. You can tell there is something wrong when you launch a Google Meet but you can’t see the little grey camera icon by the bookmark star or if you launch Google Meet and you are able to see yourself on the grid but all the other users can not see you.

      Try this fix:

      In Chrome settings make sure your hardware acceleration is turned on. Go to the 3 dots in the upper right corner> settings> advance> turn use hardware acceleration when available on to blue> relaunch> open Meets and try again. Camera should now work and users should now be able to see you.

  5. Ian Forsyth said on January 27, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    This recent build won’t show video cam on a google meet even though my camera works. I had to back to an earlier build to get Google Meet functioning again and showing video. My students could hear me but not see me.

  6. Anonymous said on January 26, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    My google meets have been crashing amongst other major glitches since I updated to version 88. I use it to teach sooo big problem. It is 100% not my device/internet. Any suggestions?

  7. Raya said on January 25, 2021 at 4:04 pm

    Hello! I updated my Chrome last Friday (I’m using a Macbook Air), and my camera doesn’t seem to be working anymore e.g. when I use it for work (teaching online via chrome, I can see myself when doing the audio tech check, however it doesn’t work once I move to the video tech check and when start teaching; same things happen on fb calls – I can see myself but the other person can’t). This whole thing started straight after the update. Any tips?

  8. Tim Bonham said on January 24, 2021 at 12:33 am

    Well, I have this new version of Chrome installed, and UBlock origin still works. I do notice some more hesitancy, and times where I have to refresh the page immediately before it all appears. But things still work. So I don’t have to do the work of switching to Brave yet.

    Yet, because I think Raymond Hill said that the problem was a limit on the number of ‘blacklisted’ ads that UBlock origin could have in ‘Manifest v3’. And I think Chrome increased that number from its original small number. But it seems like each time advertisers create a new ad, that id will have to be added to the blacklist. So eventually it will hit the limit. (And advertisers can trigger that, by creating multiple ads or repeating the same ones under multiple ids.)

    So it seems like eventually this limit will hamstring adblockers. And I can’t imagine using the Internet without UBlock origin, the way it is today.

    1. Iron Heart said on January 25, 2021 at 6:09 pm

      @Tim Bonham

      uBlock Origin still “works” because Manifest V2 support is still active in Chromium. Eventually, they will get rid of Manifest V2 and make Manifest V3 mandatory, at which point the current uBlock Origin breaks, unless it is being rewritten. Now, in case of a rewrite, uBlock Origin would still work in some limited capacity, within the new numerical limits for rulesets.

      Brave’s internal adblocker will survive no matter what because it is not an extension and therefore not under the restrictions of extension APIs and the changes applied to them.

  9. Natasha said on January 21, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    Chrome is malware!

    Switch to Firefox or Brave.

    1. Anonymous said on January 25, 2021 at 4:26 pm

      Natasha you need help, seriously.

    2. Alex said on January 21, 2021 at 5:35 pm


      Seriously? “Natasha from Russia” I guess with a domain that doesn’t resolve on any Whois?

      This was a question about what happens to UBlock Origin with these changes, which has drawn flies for interest including Martin (which will likely get me banned for saying this but…) since connection to, a world-class purveyor of crapware/re-packaged junk for years and in a country with a long history of software piracy, has been rather frugal with interacting with comments. Instead we have a LOT of get-this-crap freeware stuff.

  10. Alex said on January 21, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    Re: Chrome 88 supports the controversial Manifest v3 for extensions.

    Gorhill (UBlock Origin) said some time ago that this nasty piece of Google Adwords friendly code would effectively make UBlock O impossible. Also Privacy Badger.

    Nothing on the UBO site. And you? Have any insight on it?

  11. Anonymous said on January 20, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    They updated the page now, ftp will be removed in M89

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