Google Chrome to pause Flash ads by default

Google’s Chrome browser will soon pause Flash ads by default, the latest move in the growing push to phase out the much-maligned multimedia software platform.

Google said in a post Thursday that it will roll out the changes beginning Sept. 1 “to improve performance for users.” Among the most common complaints about Adobe’s Flash is that it’s unreliable — websites with videos or other content created using Flash are prone to crashing.

Flash is also infamous for its security issues. Adobe has issued several fixes to vulnerabilities this year. Last month, Mozilla disabled Flash on the Firefox browser after a flaw was exploited to attack a group called Hacking Team. Mozilla re-enabled Flash after Adobe released a fix, but told SiliconBeat that it would work with developers to “encourage adoption of safer and more stable technologies” such as HTML5.

Other recent developments in Flash’s death by a thousand cuts: Amazon last week said it would stop running Flash ads on its site come September. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s new chief security officer, last month called for Adobe to set a kill date for Flash. And YouTube in January announced it would “default” to HTML5. The Chrome move is key because by most counts, it is now the most dominant Web browser.

A Fast Company piece recently looked at the “agonizingly slow decline” of Flash, which essentially began about five years ago when the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs penned “Thoughts on Flash,” a now-famous anti-Flash manifesto in which he said Apple wouldn’t support Flash on its mobile devices, and detailed what he thought was wrong with Flash: closed system, poor security, poor reliability, poor performance. In addition, Jobs said it didn’t work well with Apple’s touch-based mobile system.

“The mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short,” Jobs wrote. So — no Flash on extremely popular iPhones, and later, iPads.

In 2011, Adobe announced that it would stop developing Flash for mobile devices. As I wrote then, the company acknowledged the growing adoption of HTML5. The company later rolled out new developer tools for creating content using HTML5.


Photo of Adobe headquarters in San Jose from Associated Press archives


Tags: , , , , ,


Share this Post