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FTP, Once Innovative, Is Now Dying

January 25, 2021
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A key component of the Internet’s early days may be facing widespread retirement soon. 

Initially delayed by the pandemic, Google recently announced its next Chrome update will have fewer supports for file transfer protocol, with subsequent updates not supporting it at all. Mozilla announced a similar decision earlier this year for its Firefox browser in part due to security concerns.

Developed in 1971, FTP was one of the application-level programs for ARPANET’s early days. It facilitates data transfers among hosts.

In an interview with Vice, Internet Hall of Fame inductee Alan Emtage acknowledged that his creation, the early search engine Archie, would not have been possible without FTP. Launched before the commercialization of the Internet, Archie relied on a university network to allow users to search anonymous FTP servers for files. 

“We were fighting the good fight,” he said. “We knew there was potential.”