GOOGLE HAS ANNOUNCED the latest stage of its plans to ditch Adobe Flash content.
The plugin, which is already disabled by default in Google Chrome, is due to be formally retired by Adobe in 2020, but most browser vendors have already begun the process of removing it from view, as it's old, clunky and riddled with security vulnerabilities.
In an announcement this week, Google confirmed that by the end of this year (a year earlier than previously promised) it will stop supporting Flash in its search engine. In other words, if you perform a search, pages containing Flash will be omitted, full stop. In addition, standalone .swf files will also become invisible.
Google's engineering manager Dong-Hwi Lee paid tribute to Flash in sentimental terms (much as we did in 2017), but highlighting it was time to move on: "Flash was the answer to the boring static web, with rich animations, media, and actions.
"It was a prolific technology that inspired many new content creators on the web. It was everywhere….. Flash, you inspired the web. Now, there are web standards like HTML5 to continue your legacy."
As well as the security risks, Flash is showing its age now and takes up increasingly large amounts of memory and CPU. But it's the security risks involved that have hastened its demise, not just in their own right, but because the weight of security patches, which at their peak reached over 100 per month.
Adobe's 2020 end of life date was made in consultation with the industry, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla. The mobile phone revolution changed everything. Google removed Flash support in 2013, whilst Apple has never supported Flash for iOS, after a long and fractious argument on the matter with Steve Jobs himself.
Mozilla has already removed Flash support from its browser, whilst Microsoft has confirmed that the new Chromium-based version of its Edge browser won't support Flash from the outset. µ
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