Google Reveals How Will Chrome Handle Flash Plugins

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Adobe's proprietary software technology, the Flash browser plugin, is still being called "the standard for delivering high-impact, rich web content" by Adobe. The software can be used to run games, animations and user interfaces embedded into web pages. It is and has been included into the desktop versions of the Google Chrome browser for six years now. However, Adobe Flash has fallen out of favour in recent years. Official support for the mobile version of Flash technology has been dropped from the Android platform for some years now (and it never made it to the iPhone) and now we are seeing a change in how the Chrome browser will operate with Flash. Now, the Google Chrome browser is based upon the Chromium browser but one of the differences is how Google integrates the Adobe Flash plugin.

Google have outlined plans that see the browser significantly reduce how often it uses the Flash plugin. Currently, when the browser visits a website offering Flash it will silently admit this to the website and if necessary, it will use the plugin. Google's proposals, which could be implemented in the fourth quarter, see a subtle change in how the browser behaves. Chrome will request a HTML5 version of the website, which is considered by Google to be "a more integrated media experience with faster load times and lower power consumption." If a website does not offer a HTML5 version it will ask for authorisation to run the Chrome plugin, where currently the Chrome browser will simply run the plugin. However, if the website is in the top ten list of Flash-requiring websites, which includes YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, Live, Twitch and Amazon, the browser will simply go ahead and use the Flash plugin. This top ten list will be regularly revisited with the intention of removing unnecessary websites from the list.

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Google's blog is careful to point out that this decision as to how the Flash plugin is used is because of how HTML5 as a language has matured. This newer generation of HTML, the language of how web pages are built, is considered to be a better solution as it does not have the same potential security, power consumption and performance issues that Flash does. Google also state that they will continue to work with "Adobe and other browser vendors" in order to continue evolving and refining the web platform, with a particular bias towards watching web gaming. The blog states that the whitelist of pre-authorised applications will exist for a year. It's not yet clear what Google's plans are for removing the Flash plugin from the Chrome browser but it appears to be with us until at least the end of 2017.