The inexorable slide into a world without Flash continues, with Google revealing plans to phase out support for Adobe's Flash Player in its Chrome browser for all but a handful of websites. And the company expects the changes to roll out by the fourth quarter of 2016.
While it says Flash might have "historically" been a good way to present rich media online, Google is now much more partial to HTML5, thanks to faster load times and lower power use.
As a result, Flash will still come bundled with Chrome, but "its presence will not be advertised by default." Where the Flash Player is the only option for viewing content on a site, users will need to actively switch it on for individual sites. Enterprise Chrome users will also have the option of switching Flash off altogether.
Google will maintain support in the short-term for the top 10 domains using the player, including YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitch and Amazon. But this "whitelist" is set to be periodically reviewed, with sites removed if they no longer warrant an exception, and the exemption list will expire after a year.
A spokesperson for Adobe said it was working with Google in its goal of "an industry-wide transition to Open Web standards," including the adoption of HTML5.
"At the same time, given that Flash continues to be used in areas such as education, web gaming and premium video, the responsible thing for Adobe to do is to continue to support Flash with updates and fixes, as we help the industry transition," Adobe said in an emailed statement. "Looking ahead, we encourage content creators to build with new web standards."
YouTube seems not to care a jot that its actions are inimical to Adobe, saying it's just doing what all the cool kids – Netflix, Apple, Microsoft and its competitor Vimeo – have already done.
Which is not to say that Flash is dead: those who don't run the browsers above will still get YouTube delivered by whatever technology works bes tin their environment. And that will often – perhaps too often* – be Flash. ®
Bootnote * Until they get p0wned, that is: Flash is so horridly buggy that Apple has just updated its plugin-blockers to foil versions of the product prior to 126.96.36.1996 and 188.8.131.524.