Chrome to make Flash mostly-dead in early December

Plans interim step next month in long-running battle to eliminate Flash Player content from the web

adobe flash player v10 icon
Credit: Adobe Systems

Google yesterday set an early December deadline for purging most Flash content from its Chrome browser, adding that it will take an interim step next month when it stops rendering Flash-based page analytics.

In a post to a company blog, Anthony LaForge, a technical program manager on the Chrome team, said the browser would refuse to display virtually all Flash content starting with version 55, which is scheduled for release the week of Dec. 5.

Previously, Google had used a broader deadline of this year's fourth quarter for quashing all Flash content except for that produced by a select list of 10 sites, including Amazon, Facebook and YouTube.

Another anti-Flash change will reach Chrome with version 53, now slated to ship the week of Sept. 5. At that time, Chrome will stop rendering very small Flash elements, which are invisible to users but generate data for Web analytics platforms.

LeForge's latest deadlines were what will probably be among the closing moves in Chrome's years-long campaign to eradicate Flash. Like other browser makers -- including Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla -- Google has championed the elimination of Adobe's once-dominant media player by arguing that it results in longer laptop battery life, faster page rendering and improved security.

Apple's Safari has frozen some Flash content since 2013, and will beat Chrome to the no-Flash milestone when it ships Safari 10 with macOS Sierra between now and October: Then, Safari will default to HTML5 and only alert users that a site supports just Flash with a message that they need to download the plug-in. Microsoft's Edge -- Windows 10's default browser -- froze some Flash content in the version bundled with last week's 1607 upgrade.

Mozilla has only begun to restrict Flash content inside its Mozilla browser. While the open-source developer has said it will require users next year to manually activate the Flash Player plug-in, it has not revealed a timetable for more drastic constraints, like those Google announced.

To express your thoughts on Computerworld content, visit Computerworld's Facebook page, LinkedIn page and Twitter stream.
Windows 10 annoyances and solutions
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.