Google Chrome to phase out Adobe Flash later this year

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2016
Google has revealed plans to switch from the venerable -- but much maligned -- Adobe Flash to HTML5 as the default method for delivering audio and video in its Chrome Web browser.




The plan, revealed in a Google Groups post last week, is scheduled for implementation later this year, reports VentureBeat.

Like other industry heavyweights, including Apple, Google's initiative toward HTML5 and away from Flash has picked up steam in recent years. Indeed, in January 2015, Google ditched Flash for HTML5 video in YouTube. One month later it began automatically converting Flash web ads to HTML5, and in January of next year, it plans to stop running Flash display ads altogether.

Chrome itself has also been moving away from Flash for some time. Last September, the browser began automatically pausing less important Flash web content (ads, animations and anything that isn't "central to the webpage"). Now, with Google's new directive, even central web content, such as games and videos, will automatically default to HTML5.

The reason Flash has become such a pariah is largely because it is a security nightmare, with new vulnerabilities popping up regularly. Moreover, the market as a whole has been moving away from plug-ins like Flash in favor of HTML5, which provides the same benefits but in a more efficient manner.

While future versions of Chrome, with roughly 70 percent of the web browser market, will still include Flash, its presence will not be advertised by default. If a user encounters a site that offers both an HTML5 experience and a Flash experience, the HTML5 experience will be displayed. If Flash is required, the user will be asked whether it can be allowed to run or not. If the user accepts, Chrome will advertise the presence of Flash Player and refresh the page. Chrome will honor the user's setting for that site on subsequent visits.

Recognizing that some popular websites, including YouTube, Facebook, and Amazon, still use Flash, Google's plan includes a "whitelist" of the top 10 Flash-using websites, as defined by Chrome's internal metrics. Those whitelisted sites will run Flash by default, but the whitelist will expire after one year, ostensibly pressuring even those large sites to phase it out fairly soon.

When a user first visits a site that requires Flash but isn't on the whitelist, they will be greeted by an austere, gray dialog box requiring them to choose whether to allow Chrome's Flash Player to run. Chrome will store that preference and refresh the page with Flash enabled.

Enterprises will also be able to control their users' ability to run Flash.

The handwriting has been on the wall for Flash since November 2011, when Adobe announced the withdrawal of support for Flash Player on mobile devices. That announcement came only a year after Steve Jobs vigorously defended Apple's decision not to support Flash on the iPad and iPhone for many of the same reasons Google cites now.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,078member
    But... but... basement-dwelling fanboys have been preaching to us that Flash is SO much more superior...

    But..but..  awww... forget it...
    lolliverbaconstangai46tallest skilstevehcornchipmagman1979calianton zuykovjony0
  • Reply 2 of 28
    irelandireland Posts: 17,095member
    Thank God.
    baconstangtallest skilcornchipmagman1979anton zuykov
  • Reply 3 of 28
    dettdett Posts: 6member
    Off-topic, but can something be both venerable and maligned?
    ai46cornchipjony0
  • Reply 4 of 28
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 887member
    So what do you do if you only want Flash enabled once, and never again for a given site?
    baconstang
  • Reply 5 of 28
    macseekermacseeker Posts: 352member
    Steve Jobs wins!
    coolfactorbaconstangmagman1979calijony0
  • Reply 6 of 28
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 489member
    Hopefully this will get the last of the holdouts to dump Flash.  I'm looking at you NOAA/NWS.
  • Reply 7 of 28
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,387member
    If Steve Jobs was alive, he would remind "told you so".
    cali
  • Reply 8 of 28
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 4,984member
    ...and until now, Chrome has baked in Flash, just to spite Apple and extend the life of this shitty plugin. It's because of Chrome that Flash has been kept around for so much longer than it should have been. Google deserves zero credit, they've done nothing but resist progress when it comes to Flash, and used it as a selling point when it suited them. 
    ai46baconstangtallest skilgenovellecornchipfotoformatmagman1979rezwitsanton zuykovjony0
  • Reply 9 of 28
    sflocal said:
    But... but... basement-dwelling fanboys have been preaching to us that Flash is SO much more superior...

    But..but..  awww... forget it...
    Forget it indeed, as Google followed Apple by removing flash support in Google Android a few months later. Google did leave flash support in AOSP for some time for the sake of developing markets, but even that ended in 2013. So trying to earn points on that is like beating the horse that died long after it escaped the stable when the door was left open.

    Honestly, this is something that Apple fans may want to put the rest as it sure does appear as if the iPhone 8 (presuming the iPhone 7 in 2016 and 7s in 2017) is going to look a lot more like the Galaxy Note 5 than the iPhone 5, right down to the 5.8" curved OLED screen with (presumably) 4-5 GB of RAM for multi-windows and the stylus to boot.
  • Reply 10 of 28
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,988member
    Yes, please forcibly install extensions and add-ons that I might not want, artificially inflating the usage stats thereof. I can’t see where that would go wrong...
  • Reply 11 of 28
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,536member
    Remember when the iPhone failed because of no flash. I wonder if those fools still have jobs. 
    baconstangcornchipmagman1979calinetmage
  • Reply 12 of 28
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    sflocal said:
    But... but... basement-dwelling fanboys have been preaching to us that Flash is SO much more superior...

    But..but..  awww... forget it...
    For animations it was. Unfortunately Adobe turned it into a generic media player because the web browsers lacked video playback capability. And now those chickens have come home to roost. Animators still use it for cut-out animation, but game developers largely abandoned it around flash 9 (the last version that worked on the Wii and PS3), most flash animators are perfectly happy to use Flash 6 to Flash CS3, but these versions of flash can't export to HD resolutions. There is not enough precision in the flash format itself to create flash video, so mostly HD productions are using ToonBoom Harmony now. Conversion tools that use the flash plugin to render flash frame-by-frame to create h.264 versions max out at 4K, and the 4K versions tend lack enough sub-pixel precision to not look jumpy. It's "good enough" when the option is 4K or 400x300 flash files the size of a postage stamp.

    Flash can't do 4K(p60) or 8K(p24/p30/p60) video. Technically you can make flash do 4K(p24/p30), but 8K it absolutely can not do, even with the 64-bit plugin because the maximum "canvas" size is exceeded


    volcancornchip
  • Reply 13 of 28
    I hope Youtube enables 4K resolution on the HTML5 player. I still have to enable Flash to get 4K as an option (at least ClickToFlash makes it easy to do so on a case-by-case basis).
    jackansi
  • Reply 14 of 28
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,574member
    Perhaps Google is nearing completion of a new HTML5 finance stock application to replace their current Flash version. That app is possibly the single most advanced Flash app ever written so if they can bring the same functionality with HTML5, that will be a landmark accomplishment. I'm looking forward to it.  
  • Reply 15 of 28
    mbsmdmbsmd Posts: 33member
    Hopefully this accelerates the death of Flash. It's sad how many websites still require it.
    tallest skilmagman1979
  • Reply 16 of 28
    rcponercpone Posts: 20member
    If only Adobe people weren't so lazy, perhaps Flash would be better.
    tallest skil
  • Reply 17 of 28
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 42,988member
    I hope Youtube enables 4K resolution on the HTML5 player.
    They’re never going to render anything above 720 in MP4. They want to push WebM because they’re screaming children who didn’t get their way with Flash/OGG, etc. 
    calijackansi
  • Reply 18 of 28
    joshajosha Posts: 901member
    macseeker said:
    Steve Jobs wins!
    Yes smart Steve was years ahead on trashing Flash.
    Well done Steve, they need lots of years to catch up with your actions of several years back.  :)
    cali
  • Reply 19 of 28
    joshajosha Posts: 901member
    slurpy said:
    ...and until now, Chrome has baked in Flash, just to spite Apple and extend the life of this shitty plugin. It's because of Chrome that Flash has been kept around for so much longer than it should have been. Google deserves zero credit, they've done nothing but resist progress when it comes to Flash, and used it as a selling point when it suited them. 
    So true, Google's customers suffered from Flash far too long.
    But that's Google; Google comes ahead of Google's customers !!!
    cali
  • Reply 20 of 28
    joshajosha Posts: 901member
    mbsmd said:
    Hopefully this accelerates the death of Flash. It's sad how many websites still require it.
    Over the last year many web sites no longer require Flash.
    Even the big BBC no longer requires Flash !
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