Most recently, I wrote that Firefox developers plan to remove from their browser support for the FTP protocol, as consider it to be unsafe. At the same time, Google re-enabled FTP support for Chrome.
Google developers have been talking about abandoning FTP since 2014, since very few browser users (0.1-0.2%) use the protocol. In 2018, the company first announced plans officially abandon FTP, and last summer Google engineers began to implement these plans. So, it was planned that FTP support would be disabled by default with the release of Chrome 81, and after version 82 was released, all traces of the protocol would be permanently deleted from the code.
Opt-out of FTP will be gradual. For example, the browser will still download FTP directory lists now, but it will no longer display the files themselves in the browser, but will instead download them”, – say Google engineers.
With the release of Chrome 80, the company began abandoning FTP support by adding the chrome://flags/#enable-ftp flag to its settings, which determines whether FTP support is enabled or not.
FTP support was enabled by default in Chrome 80, but developers have already tested disabling protocol support for 1% of the user base. Disabling FTP support by default was planned in Chrome 81 (but for now, is possible re-enabling using the #enable-ftp flag).
The release of Chrome 81 took place last week (although this version was originally supposed to be released in mid-March, coronavirus pandemic violated company’s plans), and only a couple of days later, one of the browser developers posted a message on the company’s bugtracker.
Due to the current crisis, Google engineers decided to postpone the abandonment of FTP in a stable release, that is, the protocol will work again”, — said the Chrome developer.
Enabling FTP support by default is explained by the fact that developers do not want to create problems with access to FTP content during a pandemic. The fact is that many government agencies, including national health institutes, are still widely using FTP.