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Flash Gets Sidelined in Google Chrome Proposal


Google have revealed plans to sideline Flash in their Chrome browser.

Introducing the draft proposal HTML5 by Default, Anthony LaForge, Chrome's technical program manager, says

"Later this year we plan to change how Chromium hints to websites about the presence of Flash Player, by changing the default response of Navigator.plugins and Navigator.mimeTypes. If a site offers an HTML5 experience, this change will make that the primary experience."

LaForge notes that historically Flash was been for rich media on the web, but HTML5 now provides users with a "more integrated media experience" with faster load times and lower power consumption.

If a site offers an HTML5 experience, Google's proposed change will make that the primary experience. The web giant plans to continue to ship Flash Player with Chrome, and, where a site truly requires Flash, users will be prompted with the option of allowing it to run for that site.

This isn't the first indication from Google that it is phasing out Flash.

In February of this year, Google announced that 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 GDN or DoubleClick.

In August 2015, Google announced restrictions regarding Flash that would come into effect from Chrome 45, with the browser detecting if Flash content is present in a web page, before running only the most important content, such as video, and pausing all other Flash content.

Google's HTML5 by Default proposal does not go as far as blocking Flash content, and users will still be able to opt to “Always run Flash content” and manage their individual site preferences.

Other browsers are following Google's example, and sidelining Flash content.

In the blog post Putting Users in Control of Flash John Hazen, Microsoft Edge's principal program manager lead, said Microsoft are giving users "more control over the power and resources consumed by Flash" and that as of the Anniversary Update to Windows 10, Edge "will intelligently auto-pause content that is not central to the web page."

"We will continue to work within the W3C to ensure standards unblock all developers to fully transition away from Flash," Hazen said.

Mozilla had similar sentiments to share. Benjamin Smedberg, senior manager for Firefox engineering, told InfoQ, "Mozilla believes that Flash is a legacy technology and is not the future of the Web."

Smedberg confirmed that Mozilla was already "exploring options" to lessen the web's dependence on Flash, while still "making it available to users who require it to view legacy content."

Krystian Kolondra, SVP of engineering for Opera, had a stronger opinion.

"Opera has always stood for open standards, and Flash is definitely not one of them," Kolondra told InfoQ, adding that that Opera believes that HTML5 is ready to take over, and that the plan was for the browser to be "more restrictive towards Flash" in the future.

Apple's Safari browser already requires users to specifically select to "Allow Plug-ins" for Flash content.

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