Google warns iPhone users when sites use Adobe Flash

Google

Apple has been waging a fierce war against Flash ever since the iPhone debuted without the power to run Adobe’s battery hungry, multimedia software. Finally, seven years into the battle, Google is adding another blow by flagging Flash content in mobile search results with a warning that sites might not work properly.

googleflashFlash websites have been a common annoyance for mobile users who often just see a blank page when loading them, or see large chunks of content missing from a page, but now Google wants to help the web circumvent those frustrations by avoiding Flash whenever possible.

The search giant announced its added a feature to its algorithm that detects pages that use Flash so it can know whether to serve that site to you in search queries. As a result, iOS and Android devices will now see a warning for certain websites, stating that it uses Flash and may not work on your device.

iOS has never supported Flash since its introduction in 2007, while Google dropped Adobe Flash support with Android versions 4.1 and higher. iPhone users will still be able to just try the Flash site anyway, but with so much HTML 5 content available on the web, this might be the final blow in Flash’s long, sputtering death saga.

  • Dave Walker

    Can’t believe Channel 4 still uses Flash for its live broadcasts. (UK)

  • Milan Kragujević

    Ironically, cultofmac.com uses flash in the sidebar player.

  • http://nl.linkedin.com/in/bovelett/ Anne-Mieke Bovelett

    I wonder what happens to sites with detection scripts that send you to a mobile version without Flash?

    • Kr00

      If the website coder does that, without providing the content viewable on mobile devices, they should be shot. Most imbed their videos through YouTube these days, most but not all. The problem being, people who still use XP and outdated IE browsers, force website coders to have to write content for these cave people. A coder would have to write 9 different versions of a website just to suit all the current and legacy browsers. It’s nuts.

    • JS

      It WILL be flagged by Google. A simple workaround is to have the mobile version load by default and have it send the user to the Flash website if it is NOT a mobile device.

      A better option would be to design your mobile site to be “responsive” and just scale itself up for non-mobile users and just drop the Flash version all together.

  • Kr00

    Well google can blame themselves for flash still existing. If it adopted H.264 as its video streaming standard, the push for streaming H.264 over Html5 would take over and kill off flash for good, yet is continues to use flash on its YouTube service. We are in the 21st century, so when are these companies going to stop living in the past? Providing content through a wrapper which requires hardware acceleration to operate, in this day, is just moronic. Flash coders are lazy, as they don’t have the skills to write html code. It’s as simple as that. Contact website admins and tell them to get off their asses if they insist on using flash as its main content provider. They’ll get the hint when their web stats come in and see all those devices that don’t use flash, can’t see all their wonderful adverts.

    • JS

      As somebody that codes both Html5 and Flash, I find your use of the word “lazy” irritating. What you are really saying is that it is easier to develop content with Flash because it is a better development platform (which is really more of a compliment toward Flash than an insult). When the development tools for Html5 become that good, then you might see more of a migration.

      That being said, I haven’t made a website that uses Flash since 2009. I haven’t made many Html5 sites either, as XP computers don’t allow IE to render it properly. So if you can’t reach your audience with either technology, it explains the popularity of so many apps in the app store instead of interactive web sites. As for video, html5 allows for a “Flash fallback” so most video sites should use both at the same time.

      Me lazy? I think you’re lazy based on your post. Or maybe I’m confusing laziness with ignorance.

      • Kr00

        I think you protesteth too much, and I don’t recall naming you anywhere. I have designed webpages too, so get all girly.

        You clearly don’t understand the flaws it has, and issues it has caused over its time.

        Flash isn’t a better development platform at all, what a stupid comment. Pimple faced teens writing flash games love it, and clearly so do you.

        Adobes arrogance in thinking it could have control over web content is why its a dog. They had one engineer for its Linux plugin, and barley a handful for Mac development. For years it refused to address the issue with its crappy plugin.

        As someone who has used Flash tools and coded html, the difference is stark. I’d rather code than have to use Adobes proprietary tools. Yes, you can drag and drop using flash tools and make simple games and animations, but any idiot can do it using flash tools (hence my lazy comment), which is why flash is so popular to those who still love it, but can’t code. Idiots.

        It still remains the worst way to embed video or any other content on webpages. As someone who has to fix under performing computers, Flash has always been a major resource hog and cause of many problems, including security flaws for decades.

        Between CSS 3, HTML, HTML5, WebM, XML, C++ and Javascript, anything is possible. To use a flawed wrapper that uses hardware acceleration to run properly, is idiotic.

        Those still coding websites with Flash, need to either go back to college or leave it to someone with current qualifications. In my honest opinion, support for legacy browsers older than 4 years, needs to be dropped. God, even MS has halted support for XP and older IE versions. This is why I don’t design webpages any more. It’s bullshit to have to write for obsolete systems. You obviously love it.

        In my humble opinion, those who advocate for the continuation of flash across the web, is an A grade moron. Now you can get all girly.

      • JS

        There’s a surprising amount that I agree with you on…
        – websites shouldn’t be made with Flash anymore
        – people should upgrade their browsers
        – Flash is a security abomination
        – Flash is a resource hog if not coded with acceleration
        – Adobe shouldn’t have dropped support for less used systems

        The thing I don’t agree with you on is mainly that Html5 is not ready for the spotlight.
        – It’s not widely supported yet
        – browsers that do support it are very fractured
        – it is also a resource hog just like Flash
        – the dev tools are lacking to put it kindly
        – as Html5 support grows, so too will the security risks.

        I also don’t agree with your stated views towards teens suffering from acne and what you think is so wrong with girls? Is that a fanboi thing? LOL.

  • TJ

    How about “Uses Google Analytics, May track your every move” for Siri searches?

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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