The end is nigh for Adobe’s Flash player, and it’s about time.
When Steve Jobs said he would not be supporting Flash because of the player’s inherent faults, I agreed that a Flash alternative was sorely needed, but at the time we didn’t have one yet, and not supporting Flash seemed like a foolish move, in my humble opinion. I was always glad to be an Android user, able to take advantage of the entire web, not just the parts Steve Jobs liked.
Google apparently agrees, and has decided that by end of Q4, 2016 Flash will be disabled in Chrome by default. In order to play a Flash object, you’ll actually have to click a button telling it to play.
The ability to turn the plugin off has existed in settings for as long as I can remember, but soon it will be off by default.
There are a couple important things to know about this transition. The first thing is that Google has decided to give a little bit more time to a short list of Flash dependent websites to free themselves from Adobe’s bondage. That list is as follows:
It’s not clear for how long, but for now at least, Flash will still be enabled by default for these ten websites.
The other thing I wanted to point out is that the chromium team seems to be aware of the one area where Flash still seems to have a leg-up on HTM5: games. Here’s a quote from the chromium team:
“While Flash historically has been critical for rich media on the web, today in many cases HTML5 provides a more integrated media experience with faster load times and lower power consumption. This change reflects the maturity of HTML5 and its ability to deliver an excellent user experience. We will continue to work closely with Adobe and other browser vendors to keep moving the web platform forward, in particular paying close attention to web gaming.
Source: Chromium on Google Groups.”
So the chromium team promises to pay “close attention to web gaming”. This may be them just blowing smoke to make those companies who develop games strictly in Flash feel better, but I’m willing to take them for their word and assume they’re taking web gaming seriously.
I admit, my opening statement may have been a bit presumptuous. Technically, the chromium team hasn’t come right out and said “we’re planning to completely discontinue Flash support at some point. This is just the first step.” Adobe still supports Flash for desktop (not a job I would want), but for many the writing appears to be plainly on the wall. Adobe already abandoned Flash on mobile, and HTML5 is clearly the better option for almost any web application.
One thing is for sure, if you’re a business that depends heavily on Flash, you really need to start planning your exodus (I’m looking at you, Pixlr). Honestly, you should have been planning this for years. Hopefully it’s not too late.