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Google sends anti-Flash Player messages to mobile web browsers

Tells users when websites might not work
Wed Jul 16 2014, 12:34
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GOOGLE HAS ADDED a function to its internet search engine to identify websites that won't run properly on some mobile web browsers.

The name and shame approach is indirectly aimed at websites that continue to use the increasingly outdated Adobe Flash Player plug-in for animated content.

Formerly the darling of web designers everywhere, the implementation of HTML5 has left Adobe Flash looking bloated and dated, and many web browsers have already ceased support.

Google removed Flash support from its Android mobile operating system in 2012, a move that woke up many developers to the need to migrate to newer protocols. A reprieve had to be temporarily issued when it was discovered that the removal completely borked the BBC iPlayer app. The BBC rushed out a proprietary alternative and Adobe Flash disappeared from iPlayer shortly afterwards.

The developer community promptly hacked support back into Android, but as the net evolves, the need for lightweight replacements for Adobe Flash has become more and more evident.

Meanwhile Apple has always been vocally anti-Flash Player, with there having been more than one public altercation between the two companies over Apple's steadfast refusal to support Adobe Flash on the iPhone.

From today, Google search results say "Uses Flash. May not work on your device", giving the option to try it anyway or click through to an explanation of why Adobe Flash is a bit rubbish.

Google has taken the opportunity to direct developers to its curated best practices for web design, saying "By following the best practices described in Web Fundamentals you can build a responsive web design, which has long been Google's recommendation for search-friendly sites." µ


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