Google and Adobe cozy up on Flash for Chrome browser

Some observers pan the move, noting Google's support for Flash rival HTML5

Google with its Chrome browser is making accommodations for the Adobe Flash Player, a move that did not sit well with some early commentators wondering why Google is now pushing Flash when it has backed HTML5, a potential rival to Flash.

Flash Player 10.1 will ship with Chrome when the plug-in upgrade is available at some point in the first half of this year. The initial effort Tuesday involves an integration of Chrome and Flash Player in the developer channel with the inclusion of Flash Player 10.1 beta 3 in Chrome. Additionally, Adobe and Google are part of an effort to improve interaction between browsers and plugins.

[ InfoWorld's Paul Krill reported on the possibility of HTML5 killing Flash and Microsoft Silverlight. ]

Google and Adobe officials hailed the Flash Player effort.

"Moving forward, Google will be including Flash Player in Chrome so users will always have the most current release and a safer and more seamless experience," said Paul Betlem, senior director of Flash Player engineering at Adobe, in a blog post.

"When users download Chrome, they will also receive the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. There will be no need to install Flash Player separately," said Linus Upson, vice president of engineering at Google, in a blog post. Users will automatically receive updates related to Flash Player using the Chrome auto-update mechanism. Also, Google plans to further protect users by extending the Chrome sandbox to Web pages with Flash content.

Some persons posting comments attached to the Google blog post did not take kindly to Google cozying up to Adobe.

"The future of the Web should be standards-based: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Not some old clunky proprietary plug-in," said commentator Anders Tornblad.

"Ugh. And here I thought we were all getting close(ish) to completely ditching Flash and you guys decide to bundle Flash with Chrome. What the hell happened to open standards," asked another person.

"Shouldn't you be concentrating on enhancing HTML5 rather than meshing the browser with proprietary plug-ins," asked another person commenting.

Others, including a commentator identified as Flash developer Joel Fiser, defended the alliance.

"Google correctly recognizes the Flash plug-in as one of the main engines that drive innovation on the Web," Fiser said. "So -- rather than accede to Apple's ridiculous 'solution' of trying to kill an excellent -- but needs improvement -- technology, Google is trying to make it better." Apple has frowned up on Flash lately, keeping it off of its iPhone platform.

Adobe also is working with Google, Mozilla and others on an API to provide a better way for browsers and plug-ins to interact.

"While the current NPAPI has served the industry well, it lacks the flexibility and power to support the pace of innovation we see ahead. We expect that the new API specification will offer some distinct benefits over the current technology available," Betlem said. The API will be OS- and browser-neutral to minimize the chance of inconsistent behavior across platforms. It also will offer performance benefits and enable tighter integration with host browsers, Betlem said.

Google has participated in the Adobe-led Open Screen Project, which is an effort to provide a Flash-based runtime environment for rich content across different devices.

This story, "Google and Adobe cozy up on Flash for Chrome browser," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in applications at InfoWorld.com.

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