Google has published a proposal to kill one of the most widely attacked and buggy pieces of software on the internet.
The search company has announced plans to make HTML5 and not Adobe’s Flash Player plugin the default media player in Chrome by the fourth quarter of 2016, including stopping people from installing Flash Player via non-Google websites.
According to a new plan reported by Venture Beat, Google will make the Flash plugin in Chrome a secondary option for the entire web except for the top 10 domains by the end of 2016.
Google outlined its Flash strategy in “HTML5 by Default”, a document that spells out its framework for demoting Flash in Chrome.
Google last year disabled Flash in Chrome for non-central content, such as ads. This proposal, if fulfilled, will be a more aggressive effort to ween the web off of Flash.
Until HTML5, Flash has been the default for animated and video content through desktop browsers, but it’s also been widely exploited by hackers, often enough before Adobe has had a chance to supply a patch.
To get a sense of how central Flash is to the web, it is worth noting that it is bundled with Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft’s new Windows 10 Edge browser, and Chrome for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Google isn’t saying goodbye to Flash altogether, but the proposed change would amount to a drastic demotion.
Thanks to Flash being bundled with Google’s browser, Chrome receives the latest security updates for Flash as soon as Adobe has made them available. It has meant that Chrome users haven’t needed to know when Adobe releases a security update. That won’t change in the future setup.
But Chrome users also didn't know when a site requires Flash since the site will just work in Chrome.
Under the new plan, it will be near impossible for any Chrome user to not be aware that they are using Flash if a site requires it.
“Flash Player will come bundled with Chrome, however its presence will not be advertised by default,” Google said in the proposal.
“When a user encounters a site that needs Flash Player, a prompt will appear at the top of the page, giving the user the option of allowing it for a site.”
“If the user accepts, Chrome will advertise the presence of Flash Player, and refresh the page.”
Google’s plan will also focus on discouraging web publishers from recommending Flash by intercepting requests in Chrome that prompt users to install Flash.
“Some sites, like Pandora.com, direct users to download Flash Player, when they don’t see it advertised. Once the user clicks on the download link (i.e. get.adobe.com/flashplayer) we will intercept the request, cancel the navigation, and instead present an “Allow Flash Player …” infobar, with behavior consistent to the previous flow”.