A Breakdown of Google’s Recently Announced Flash Plans

Written by Matthew Guest

Earlier this month, Google announced via the Chrome Blog that they will be continuing to de-emphasize the use of Flash in the Chrome browser. When you look past the scaremongering headlines and puff piece articles that abound on the Internet around the topic and look directly to the source, the Chrome team is taking a very careful and logical approach to slowly phase out improper uses of Flash, and move the web towards a more standardized HTML based experience.

We are happy to move along this journey with them, but it is important not to get caught up in the hype around Flash and make careful, and thoughtful decisions to be sure that at the end we do not just have HTML-based products, but the best products we can provide, regardless of the technology they are based on.

Here is a breakdown of what Google has actually stated their plans to be:

  1. Last September Chrome made smaller ad-sized Flash content in websites click-to-play. This resulted in any Flash content that is less than 400×300 pixels in size (your Nxtbook is much larger than that) being paused and displaying a play button for the user to choose whether or not to play the content.
  2. In the next release of Chrome, version 53, Google will be disabling very small Flash files completely. This will only apply to Flash files that are 5×5 pixels in size or less, and are used by some websites in the background to observe where on a page a user has scrolled to. These Flash files are very tiny, invisible to the user, and are only put in place to gather detailed information for use in website metrics. This change will not affect the Nxtbook in any way.
  3. Starting with version 55 of Chrome, scheduled to be released in December 2016, the Chrome browser will begin prompting the user to enable the Flash plugin before showing any Flash content. This will be done on a site-by-site basis, and Chrome will remember the user’s preference for the next time they visit the site.
  4. There are no plans at this point in time for Chrome to stop bundling the Flash Player with the browser, and they continue to work with Adobe to offer the most seamless and secure Flash experience on the web.

In preparation of the coming shifts in web technology, Nxtbook has created a fallback solution to run your current Nxtbook content in an HTML-based viewer if the Flash player is not installed. (Full details about this update are coming soon.)

We are also committed to our fully HTML-based products: PageRaft, a cutting-edge cross-platform responsive design publishing platform, and the Nxtbook 4.0 which is currently in development.

What does this mean for you in the meantime? Honestly, not much. Just as we wrote in this original blog post, Flash is not going to disappear overnight. Major players around the web still rely heavily on the Flash plugin, with Amazon, Netflix, Twitch, and Youtube among them.

Like us, they are making efforts to migrate to completely HTML-based solutions, but also like us, it will take time.

Click here to read through the Google Groups discussion around the proposed changes.

(photo source)