The gradual shift away from Adobe Flash player, widely accepted as a security nightmare, began with HTML5 and it may be completed with Chrome 55.
Earlier this year, Google announced that Flash content would gradually be blocked, hidden and phased out. It began with a summertime ‘block by default’ model on Chrome 53, which created the prompt asking users if they wanted it to run.
For sites with back-up HTML5 players, those were presented instead. Chrome 54 introduced a further shift, with version 55 to really cast Flash aside. Of course, if users like Flash and want to use it, the option is still there to run it on websites – but the trend is clear.
However, Chrome 55 is not blocking Flash on sites that only support it as a video format, nor on the top 10 websites on the web for one more year.
The top 10 is: YouTube.com, Facebook.com, Yahoo.com, VK.com, Live.com, Yandex.ru, OK.ru, Twitch.tv, Amazon.com, and Mail.ru.
YouTube, of course, has already shifted to HTML5.
On all other sites, users will be prompted to enable Flash the first time they visit. As well as a better overall web experience for all, the hope is that this change will pressure publishers to convert over, so that users don’t have to make that decision.
In May, Chrome represented 60.5pc of the entire browser market globally, with Firefox (16.1pc), Internet Explorer and Edge (16.6pc) and others (8.4pc) lagging way behind. So, when Chrome changes, everyone listens.
By the start of next year, Flash ads won’t be supported in Google’s AdWords programme and, surely not long afterwards, it will be as good as gone.
Flash was last in the news when Google researchers found another security flaw in the software, bringing ire from Microsoft for the public reveal.
Giving both Adobe and Microsoft a seven-day grace period to find a patch and fix the flaw, Google actually waited 10 days before posting a blog on the subject, with Adobe the only of the duo to react before the deadline.