Flash is on the way out, if you use Chrome

16 May 2016

Google is planning a phased demolition of Adobe’s formerly-heralded, currently-lamented Flash player. By year end, you’ll be free.

The introduction of HTML5 into common internet parlance took time, several years in total, but it also took a major victim: Flash.

The video format was historically dominant, though glitchy and problem-filled over time, however, YouTube shifted away from Flash as much as it could, moving towards HTML5 at the start of 2015.

Many others followed, or even led beforehand, as Flash’s popularity plummeted. Now, Chrome is planting another nail in its coffin.

By the final quarter of this year, Chrome will stop supporting Flash in all but a handful of sites. It will still exist, but it won’t be promoted, with HTML5’s faster, lighter processing taking its place. For sites that still use Flash by default, Chrome will make it a video that needs to be clicked.

If we know internet users, adding layers of activities drastically reduces the popularity of content.

The top 10 sites that use Flash will be supported – YouTube.com, Facebook.com, Yahoo.com, VK.com, Live.com, Yandex.ru, OK.ru, Twitch.tv, Amazon.com, Mail.ru – but this list will always be under review.

And considering YouTube has all but done away with Flash, for the most part, it’s not even too heavy a list.

“To reduce the initial user impact, and avoid over-prompting, Chrome will introduce this feature with a temporary whitelist of the current top Flash sites,” said the company.

“This whitelist will expire after one year, and will be periodically revisited throughout the year, to remove sites whose usage no longer warrants an exception.”

For Adobe’s part, it’s working on bringing Flash into line with HTML5, with Google’s help, to achieve a goal of “an industry-wide transition to Open Web standards”.

Main Chrome image via Your Design/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic