Google nixes Flash, embraces HTML5 in Chrome browser

Starting with December's Chrome 55 release, the browser will use HTML5 as its default instead of Flash

Google nixes Flash, embraces HTML5 in Chrome browser
Credit: flickr/Ian Brown

Adobe's Flash Player, a stalwart technology for rich Internet media applications for years, continues to lose its prominence, with Google set to designate HTML5 as the preferred option in its Chrome browser.

In December, Chrome 55 will make HTML5 the browser's default experience, except with sites that only support Flash. Google says that HTML5, often seen as the industry-standard replacement for proprietary technology like Flash, will give performance benefits.

"Today, more than 90 percent of Flash on the web loads behind the scenes to support things like page analytics. This kind of Flash slows you down, and starting this September, Chrome 53 will begin to block it," the Google Chrome team said in a bulletin this week. "HTML5 is much lighter and faster, and publishers are switching over to speed up page loading and save you more battery life. You'll see an improvement in responsiveness and efficiency for many sites."

Google acknowledged Flash Player's "pivotal role" in the adoption of web-based video, gaming, and animation. But sites now typically use technologies like HTML5 for benefits, including improved security, reduced power consumption, and faster page-loading.

This is not the first loss for Flash Player. Perhaps the major turning point for Flash came late in the last decade when Apple decided to block Flash from running on its popular iOS mobile platform. Since then, Flash has had setbacks in security and has been de-emphasized in both the Safari and Firefox browsers.

Still, the Chrome team even salutes Flash as it proceeds to move away from it. "Flash helped make the web a rich, dynamic experience and shaped the modern set of web standards. We continue to work closely with Adobe to ensure that your web experience is as fast and secure as possible and to help the web transition to HTML5."

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