Google Chrome will swap Flash for HTML5 this fall

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Google-Chrome
Slowly but surely Flash is dying.
Photo: Apple

Google is finally stepping up its bid to kill Flash content. Later this year, its Chrome browser will default to HTML5 wherever possible, using Flash only as a last resort.

The move should make Chrome speedier and more stable — and better on battery life when used on a MacBook.

As Adobe’s technology gets older, it has become notorious for being a buggy resource hog that lets malicious software enter your machine — that’s why Steve Jobs refused to support Flash on iOS.

In recent years, web developers have also been turning their back on it, and slowly but surely, HTML5 is taking over. But there are still a lot of popular websites that rely on Flash, and so Google can’t drop support completely just yet.

Chrome will continue to ship with Flash baked in, then — as it always has — but by Q4 2016, Google hopes that you won’t have to use it very often. Chrome will use HTML5 by default as much as it can, then switch to Flash only when its necessary.

When Chrome does need Flash, it will ask you if it’s okay to run it. However, there are some sites that will continue to use Flash by default, without permission, simply because they’re so popular and Google wants to prevent “over-prompting.”

Those sites include YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitch, and Amazon. Google will review this “whitelist” again throughout the year and remove sites that no longer need to be on it.

In addition to these changes, Google will make it possible for enterprise users to disable Flash completely inside Chrome on corporate computers.

Flash is like a cockroach that’s already lost its head, and ever so slowly, it is dehydrating. It will be a while before it finally gives up, but steps like this one are helping — and it’s not all Google has done to help.

Back in January, Google-owned YouTube starting displaying videos in an HTML5 player as opposed to Flash wherever possible — and then in February, the search giant announced it will no longer accept Flash ads starting this June.

Even Adobe is giving up. The company killed off its mobile Flash Player long ago, and late last year, it released software for converting Flash content to HTML5.