Google Chrome starts running HTML5 by default to replace Flash

Edward Hudson By: Edward Hudson
2 minute read

Google has rolled out its kill schedule for Flash on Chrome by starting to display HTML5 content by default on some websites for select users. That means the search giant has disabled Flash for a few Chrome users.

Google initially implemented the update for half of the Chrome 56 beta users according to Eric Deily, technical program manager for the program. Over the next few days, the HTML5 switch will be coming to 1% of Chrome 55 users, Deily added. Finally, by February 2017, the change will go live for all users of Chrome 56.

Google announced its plan to ditch Flash for HTML5 in May this year in a push for a more secure content player. In August, the company promised it would transition to HTML5 by default beginning in the fourth quarter of 2016. It’s now making good on its promise. The move aims to minimize reliance on a web component that can slow down CPU and memory usage. On top of those issues, Flash can consume battery life quickly. As if that’s not enough, Flash has encountered many security issues in the past. Attackers have targeted interactive and advanced content features of Flash to access user systems for years. HTML5 is Google’s response to those security loopholes.

Chrome users, though, can still opt to load Flash content instead of HTML5. Deily said in a blog post:

Starting in January users will be prompted to run Flash on a site-by-site basis for sites that they have never visited before. We want to avoid over-prompting users, so over time we’ll tighten this restriction using Site Engagement Index, a heuristic for how much a user interacts with a site based on their browsing activity. In October all sites will require user permission to run Flash.

Google isn’t the only tech giant that decided to block Flash content. In April, Microsoft also moved to disable automatic playback of peripheral Flash content on the Edge browser due to some security flaws.

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