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article imageGoogle Chrome to start blocking even more Flash content

By James Walker     Aug 10, 2016 in Technology
Google is preparing for the next step in its journey towards completely banishing Adobe Flash from its Chrome web browser. It has announced that Chrome will soon block the Flash plugin entirely, preventing any content from running.
Chrome already disables some Flash elements on web pages automatically. Last September, Google implemented a feature that intelligently turns off Flash content that isn't essential to the page, preventing ad banners, hidden tracking applets and other unwanted material from loading.
Most primary content, such as a central game or video player, escapes the policy and continues to display as normal. The user has full control over which Flash elements are allowed to run. They can reactivate disabled content at any time by clicking on it.
In a blog post yesterday, Google announced it is now going to take the feature a step further. Starting from Chrome version 53 this September, the browser will begin to block even more Flash content, effectively disabling Adobe's plugin entirely. The focus of the block will again be on hidden page elements powering advertising and tracking facilities. It will be implemented differently to more effectively disable this kind of content, further improving browser performance and power efficiency.
Google said that over 90 percent of Flash content still in use on the web loads behind the scenes. This slows the browser down, without providing any immediate benefits for the user. Growing numbers of publishers and ad networks are switching to the newer and lighter HTML5 to power their content but adoption is far from complete.
To help speed up the transition, Google will make HTML5 "the default experience" for all web pages later this year. When Chrome 55 is released in December, it will only display HTML5 content by default. For sites which only support Flash, Chrome will prompt users to enable Flash for that site the first time it is visited.
The changes reiterate Google's commitment to "de-emphasize" the role of Flash on the web. All the major browser vendors are making similar efforts to speed up the demise of Flash. Flash content is now disabled by default in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Apple's Safari, putting pressure on content publishers to migrate to HTML5.
"Flash helped make the Web a rich, dynamic experience, and shaped the modern set of web standards," said Anthony LaForge, curator of Flash in Chrome. "We continue to work closely with Adobe to ensure that your web experience is as fast and secure as possible and to help the Web transition to HTML5."
Only a decade ago, Flash was an essential component of the Internet. The technology was once required to show videos and create interactive online content. Today, HTML5 has almost entirely replaced it though. Capable of creating richer experiences than Flash while offering higher performance, HTML5's rise has led to Flash being abandoned by modern web developers.
Flash is expected to be gone entirely by 2018. Outdated, banished by browsers and riddled with critical security risks, few are likely to miss the once valuable technology when it finally passes away. With Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple and even Adobe itself telling developers not to use Flash, it's only a matter of time before the plugin disappears from the web.
More about Google, Google chrome, Flash, adobe flsah, Web browsers
 
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