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Adobe Flash: Kill it now

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | Sept. 1, 2015
It’s time to put Flash out of our misery once and for all. And, thanks to Google, it may finally happen.

And while YouTube dropped Flash for HTML5-based video in January 2015, many other video sites still use Flash. Last, but oh I how wish this were least, some websites’ user interfaces are still written in Flash. Oh, the humanity!

But Web companies have had enough.

First, Mozilla began blocking all versions of Flash Player from running automatically in Firefox in mid July. Then Facebook admitted in an SEC 10-Q that Flash vulnerabilities are affecting its “ability to generate Payments revenue.” This prompted fed-up Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos to tweet, “It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day.”

You think?

Then, on Aug. 27, the grumbling about Flash got serious. Google announced in its AdWords Google+ page that “Chrome will begin pausing many Flash ads by default to improve performance for users." The change is scheduled to start rolling out today, September 1, 2015.

That means all those splashy video Flash ads will stop in their tracks. That’s no way to impress the punters.

Google will automatically translate some of these ads into HTML5 video. But some ads won’t convert. The only way you can tell beforehand is to test the ads with Google’s Swiffy. If your ads don’t come over — well, Google suggests you get cracking in creating HTML5 ads.

This move is going to be the real Flash killer. Google AdWords accounts for about two out of three ads seen on the U.S. Web. If vendors can’t reach their customers with Flash ads, they’re going to abandon Flash in a jiffy.

Flash is finally coming to the end of its road. Adobe has no one to blame but itself for this. Flash is almost 20 years old, and still a month doesn’t go by without a serious security problem. That’s why I seriously doubt it will live to see its 21st birthday.


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