Most major publications that rely on paywalls to drive subscriptions offer visitors a number of free articles per month. Once your quota for the month is finished, you can either wait until the next month or subscribe. One way users got around this paywall was by using the incognito mode in Google Chrome but developers later added some code to check if the visitor was using incognito mode. If it was detected, they wouldn’t even be allowed to read the free articles. The next Chrome release will make it easier to bypass this restriction.

It’s easy for publishers like the New York Times and Bloomberg, for example, to enforce their limits when users are not in incognito mode. They just use cookies to track how many articles the visitor had read and then show the paywall when their quota is up.

Cookies are blocked in incognito so the method doesn’t work which is why they started adding code to close the loophole which allowed people to read as many articles that they wanted. Google is going to let Chrome users work around this limitation with Chrome 76. Due to the changes in API implementation, websites that have the requisite JavaScript code will no longer be able to detect if a visitor is in incognito mode.

So this should enable visitors to get around the paywall but it remains to be seen if publishers will strike back and find out some other way to block them. Google is expected to release the stable version of Chrome 76 later this month.

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