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Google Drops Flash to go 100% HTML5 for Ads

by James Chesters on Feb 13, 2016 |

The long, painful death of Adobe's Flash continues, with Google announcing its display network will soon run only HTML5 ads.

In the post Google display ads go 100% HTML5 shared on the AdWords Google+ page the company said "to enhance the browsing experience for more people on more devices, the Google Display Network and DoubleClick Digital Marketing are now going 100% HTML5."

From June 30 2016, AdWords and DoubleClick will no longer accept ads built in Flash to be uploaded, and from January 2nd, 2017, Flash ads will no longer run on either the Google Display Network or through DoubleClick. Google will continue to offer AdWords help for advertisers to transition to HTML5.

This change also affects Google's Swiffy Flash to HTML5 converter, with no new ads being converted using the tool from July 2016. Users are encouraged to visit the AdWords help page Converting your Flash ads to HTML5 ads for more information on resources.

Google's news was met without much surprise by most of the community, with many commenters welcoming the announcement.

Flash's future has been in doubt for some time. In 2015, InfoQ reported on Mozilla's move to block Flash "by default" in Firefox, following the announcement from Adobe of two critical vulnerabilities, and in InfoQ's research article Flash Under Fire: Are you using HTML5/JavaScript Exclusively?, HTML5 received a relevance score of 89% next to a score of less than 50% for Adobe's Flash.

Flash's end is also apparently being hastened by Adobe, with the company announcing at the end of 2015 the renaming of Flash Professional to Animate CC to reflect a greater focus on HTML5.

In November, Adobe's senior product marketing manager Rich Lee wrote that over a third of all content created in Flash Professional used HTML5. "Because of the emergence of HTML5 and demand for animations that leverage web standards" the tool had been completely written over recent years "to incorporate native HTML5 Canvas and WebGL support," Lee said.

Confirming the release of Animate CC this week in the blog post Animate CC Is Here, Lee said that beyond the name change, Animate is one of the company's "biggest releases ever."

It's likely no coincidence that the release accompanies Google's AdWords announcement, and among the highlights of Animate's features are "Support for HTML5 Canvas templates that can be customized with any code editor (for example, you can add script for Doubleclick or AOL tracking)" and "Typekit integration for HTML5 Canvas docs."

Among other improvements and updates in Animate CC is the use of the latest Combined CreateJS Library, replacing individual libraries used in previous versions. Adobe says the change is intended to reduce the number of server calls from published HTML5 Canvas output to improve performance

Animate also comes with enhancements for the HTML5 spritesheet UI, with the Spritesheet tab providing separate controls for PNG and JPEG settings that can be either enabled or disabled. Animate content can now also be exported in ActionScript, WebGL, or HTML5 Canvas to OAM (.oam) animated widget files.

A full list of what's new in Animate CC can be found here.

Adobe's roadmap for Flash runtimes lacks updates more recent than March 2015, and does not currently provide any more recent information on the future of Flash.

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