Over the past few years, Google has been slowly reducing Adobe Flash usage in Chrome. With the announcement this morning that Adobe will soon stop supporting Flash, Google is following suit and will completely remove the plug-in from its browser by 2020.
Adobe Flash is notoriously both resource intensive and ubiquitous on the web, which hasn’t helped the open web survive in the consumer shift to mobile devices that have smaller screens and processors. Flash isn’t even supported in most mobile environments anymore because of its poor performance. Google is as a result working hard to eliminate Flash content from its ad network and create a better web browsing experience. Today it announced September 1st is when it will begin pausing many of the Flash ads seen around the web for users of its Chrome web browser.
Fortunately for Google, it’s able to convert most of the Flash ads uploaded to its AdWords advertiser network to the less intensive HTML5 automatically. The company provides a section on its support site where advertisers can go to see what Flash ads are eligible for this conversion, and it has even made a step-by-step tool for converting ads which can’t be automatically converted or haven’t already been uploaded to Google’s servers.
Google first announced this shift back in June, and while the company has its own mobile operating system with a massive amount of native apps in the form of Android, it’s still a big proponent of the web. Perhaps because that’s where it was born, but really because the web isn’t closed off like mobile operating systems, and the underlying hypertext language of the web allows the company to easily scrape and index it for its Search business, among other things. The company introduced a setting to its Chrome browser in March which enables this disabling of Flash plugin content. Chrome for Android and iOS doesn’t support it at all.
If you’ve ever been frustrated by visiting a website on your smartphone or tablet and finding it won’t work because it uses Flash, you’ll welcome the latest Google initiative: it is now flagging Flash content in its search results, warning that the site may not work on your device.
Starting today, we will indicate to searchers when our algorithms detect pages that may not work on their devices. For example, Adobe Flash is not supported on iOS devices or on Android versions 4.1 and higher, and a page whose contents are mostly Flash may be noted
As Google notes, Android abandoned Flash support as of Jelly Bean due to reliability, security and performance concerns. Adobe has been forced to issue a succession of security updates to Flash, the most recent being two emergency updates earlier this year. Google says it hopes the move, coupled to Web Fundamentals and Web Starter Kit initiatives for developers will encourage the use of HTML5 in place of Flash.
Google’s Chrome browser has long released with a built-in Flash Player plug-in—the result of a technology partnership between the Internet giant and Flash maker Adobe. Though Adobe still allows customers to download a standalone Flash Player plug-in for Windows, OS X or Linux, the company announced today that the Flash Player plug-in for Linux after version 11.2 would only be available with Chrome browser distribution. The Linux plug-in will no longer be available as a direct download from Adobe. While one could suspect this news foreshadows broader policy changes on Windows and OS X, Adobe insisted that is not the case.
Flash Player will continue to support browsers using non-”Pepper” plugin APIs on platforms other than Linux.
Additionally, it will continue supporting Flash Player 11.2 on Linux for years to come. “Adobe will continue to provide security updates to non-Pepper distributions of Flash Player 11.2 on Linux for five years from its release,” wrote the company in a blog post…
The impressive Google Chrome for Android launched today in beta for Ice Cream Sandwich devices, and people began noticing quickly that the browser did not include Flash. It is a very interesting move by the Android team, considering Android’s default browser includes Flash. Moreover, it is something that some Android users have prided themselves on, especially since Apple’s iOS Safari does not include Flash. It is evident that the Android team hopes to move Chrome for Android to replace the stock browser and keep Android flash-less. Adobe confirmed that the new beta does not contain Flash in an effort to move to HTML 5 technologies.
As we announced last November, Adobe is no longer developing Flash Player for mobile browsers, and thus Chrome for Android Beta does not support Flash content. Flash Player continues to be supported within the current Android browser.
Do not think Chrome for Android is completely Adobe-less. The new browser features CSS Regions and a few other Adobe products that did make it into the new browser.
You may remember in November when Adobe announced it was official killing Flash on mobile devices and choosing to favor HTML 5 instead. This new beta continues that push.
Those ICS early adopters who want to browse all the Internets, including the ones that are Flash enabled, got some good news today that Flash 11.1 is ready, right on time, for Android 4.0. Currently available in the Android Market, the release date actually says Dec 12th wich was a few days before the release of the Galaxy Nexus in the US.
Adobe of course shelved their Mobile Flash development earlier this year after a dismal earnings report and the need for cost cutting.
Two months ago, Adobe unveiled Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 for Android devices. As you know, the company changed its mind and said recently it will halt Flash development on mobile after Ice Cream Sandwich. Even though they pledged to continuously support mobile platforms with critical bugs and security flaws, users have gotten confused as to whether or not Adobe will release Flash Player 11.1 and AIR 3.1 for the Galaxy Nexus devices.
We will provide a minor update to the runtimes to support the Galaxy Nexus in December.
However, Adobe reminded users that it’s always been phone vendors’ and carriers’ responsibility to deploy Flash and AIR updates to their customers:
To be clear, the Galaxy Nexus does not initially support Adobe Flash Player 11.1 and AIR 3.1. As we previously communicated in a blog post, devices and software updates from our partners which introduce new technologies are being developed on varied schedules that are different from our own, which means that the Adobe runtimes may not always be optimized or supported on devices until a subsequent release.
An example Chrome advert before and after the conversion. Go here for live demo.
Swiffy, Google’s experimental tool that converts Flash files to HTML5 code, will not be killed off due to their Fall spring-cleaning which will retire other Google Labs projects, namely Fast Flip, Desktop and Notebook, among others. Engineer Pieter Senster wrote in a post over at the official Google Code blog that Swiffy has a new home at g.co/swiffy. Although it’s in beta and won’t convert overly complex Flash files, Swiffy has gotten off to a great start and already users have converted “hundreds of thousands of files”, the company noted.
Jack Halprin, currently lists his employer as Autonomy where he was the Vice President, eDiscovery and Compliance.
But we’ve heard from a source in the know that he’s made a move to Google and will be in charge of Google’s management of electronically stored information (ESI) for both legal and information governance purposes in their Apps/Postini wing. His background includes “managing social media for legal and governance purposes, defensible processes for managing discovery, proportionality, and the reduction of eDiscovery costs” –which will certainly help Google prepare companies who are moving infrastructure into Google’s Cloud offerings.
This follows Google’s Enterprise’s pickup of Matthew Eichner, who now manages Global Enterprise Search, earlier this year.
Well, this is interesting… Google is advertising on its Google Labs page an experimental tool which aims to liberate web developers from the confines of Adobe’s Flash platform. They are calling it Swiffy (sweet) and its sole purpose is to convert Flash SWF files to HTML5. But make no mistake about it – this is about Apple’s iOS gadgets. Google itself says Swiffy lets you “reuse Flash content on devices without a Flash player (such as iPhones and iPads)”. Interesting Apple’s frenemy all of a sudden took it upon themselves to help port Flash content to Apple’s devices.
It’s a web-based tool and we’ve tried it on several relatively simple Flash animations, the ones usually seen running as annoying adverts on web sites. Surprisingly, Swiffy did quite a good job converting sample SWFs to HTML5, sans custom fonts that didn’t translate well into HTML5. Just don’t expect the latest Flash games and heavy project with lots of interactive features to port smoothly or at all. In fact, the search company is downplaying the importance of Swiffy, saying you shouldn’t expect miracles. “Swiffy currently supports a subset of SWF 8 and ActionScript 2.0, and the output works in all Webkit browsers such as Chrome and Mobile Safari,” the company noted.
Google has updated the stable Chrome channel with new security, privacy and graphics acceleration enhancement. Carrying a build number of 12.0.742.91, Google’s browser now warns you before downloading certain malicious files “without Chrome or Google ever having to know about the URLs you visit or the files you download”, software engineer Adrienne Walker explained in a post on the Chrome blog.
The team has also advanced Chrome’s GPU-assisted hardware acceleration to include 3D CSS elements on Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Windows Vista or later. Finally, Google has worked closely with Adobe to provide greater control over local storage for Flash Player’s Local Shared Objects directly from Chrome’s settings, without having to visit a special page on Adobe’s site to tweak your settings . Thanks to Chrome’s silent updating mechanism, your copy of Chrome will automatically update itself to the latest stable version available. If not, choose About Google Chrome from the wrench menu.