Yesterday I wrote about a small mystery. A couple instances of the Chrome browser on assorted Windows computers were using version 11,8,800,115 of the embedded Flash player. The mystery was that neither Adobe nor Google had said anything about this edition of the Flash player. According to Adobe, Chrome on Windows should be using the older 11.8.800.97 edition of the Flash player.
Why would both companies be silent about a new version of the Flash player? Adobe always announces new releases.
Today, I noticed that a copy of the Chrome browser that had been using the undocumented Flash player edition was today back to using the last officially mentioned edition. Wow. When do you see that? Software reverting itself back to an older release.
To put this in perspective, here is a recap of the last three releases of Chrome on Windows:
- Chrome version 29.0.1547.57 was released on August 20, 2013. In announcing the release, Google said nothing about Flash. According to Wikipedia (as of yesterday at least), this is the version that introduced the mystery edition of the Flash player (11,8,800,115). A anonymous commenter to Google's blog post also noted the new mystery version of Flash. Shortly after the release, on assorted forums, users with problems started to mention that the mystery version of Flash was installed.
Chrome version 29.0.1547.62 was released on August 28th. The announcement of the release from Google said nothing about Flash. The only documented change is a bug fix with printing from Google docs applications. I tested this version of Chrome today on Windows 7 and found that it was running the mystery version of Flash (screen shot below)
- Chrome version 29.0.1547.66 was released on September 2nd. Google did say that this includes an update to Flash, but that's all they said. The new version number for Flash is apparently none of our business. Ditto for the old version being replaced. Also, the link in the release announcement that claims provide "a full list of changes" does not, as far as I can tell, offer any information about the Flash player.
Earlier I said that a copy of Chrome fell back from the mystery Flash (11,8,800,115) to the officially documented version (11.8.800.97). That instance of Chrome was running version 29.0.1547.66 from September 2nd.
It seems that the mystery version of the Flash player was in the wild from August 20th to September 2nd.
Did Google release a new version of the Flash player at the end of August by mistake? That would explain why both Adobe and Google never mentioned it. It would also explain why Google is so vague in their September 2nd Chrome release announcement and why the Flash version number went backwards rather than forward.
Or, is this how the NSA now spies on people?
I don't know. Do you?