Flash is Dead (in Chrome), and We Really Mean it This Time

Ezequiel Bruni By Ezequiel Bruni  |  May. 17, 2016

Despite the somewhat ironic tone of the title, this is exactly what’s happening. People have predicted the inevitable collapse of Flash ever since Apple kicked it off the iOS platform, but now Google is hammering the final nail into the coffin. That’s right, Flash is being phased out of Chrome, apparently later this year, some time in the fourth quarter.

It won’t be gone altogether, mind you. The plan, for now, is to continue to bundle Flash with Chrome, but it will not be enabled by default. That is to say, Chrome will not play Flash content automatically, and instead ask the user if they’d like to enable it. Attempts to detect Flash with JavaScript will, apparently, find nothing. Similarly, any attempt to redirect the user to Adobe’s own download page will be blocked, again presenting the user with the opportunity to enable the plugin.

All roads have been leading to this point for years, but this may be the first time that anyone’s made a solid step toward killing Flash on the desktop entirely. Mind you, there will be temporary reprieve for the top ten sites that still depend on Flash, including Youtube, Amazon, and Twitch. Those sites will still have Flash enabled automatically, but Google wants to remove those sites from the list as fast as they can.

So that’s it, guys. Linux fans, rejoice! That’s one less non-free package for you to worry about. Everyone else, revel in the increased speed, security, and laptop battery life. Ding, dong, Flash is dead, or it will be soon enough.

While that’s undoubtedly great for us all as web users, it does mean that a number of developers and designers will have to get cracking. There are a large number of older websites and platforms that use Flash. However, it’s mostly used for displaying media, so the conversion shouldn’t take too long.

The tools have been around for a while.