On Tuesday, the two companies announced that Google would include Adobe's Flash Player in downloads of Chrome starting with the rough-around-the-edges builds of the browser's "dev" channel. Google will also employ Chrome's auto-updater to push Flash fixes to users without notifying them or asking them to approve the download.
[ Is Flash rival HTML5 less than it's cracked up to be? | Neil McAllister explains what to expect from HTML5. | Fine-tune your network in two weeks -- for free! InfoWorld's Networking Boot Camp will help you double-check the fundamentals and show you how to optimize your infrastructure. The email classes start Monday, April 12, 2010. Sign up now! ]
The integration, particularly the automatic updating of Adobe's plug-in, is a first for a browser maker.
"If you want to have a safe experience, updates should just happen in the background," said Paul Betlem, senior director of Flash Player engineering.
Unlike other browsers, Chrome updates itself automatically in the background without asking for permission or prompting users that security fixes or new features are available. The practice, which Google debuted alongside Chrome in September 2008 , riled some users initially, but the criticism soon faded.
Other browsers, however, did not follow suit.
"Google uses a unique approach," Betlem said. "They don't ask users [for permission to update], they just do it. If you can appreciate that model, then it gives users a more secure experience. And Google recognizes that plug-ins are a part of that experience, and that they should be updated the same way."
Adobe will build customized binaries of Flash Player for Google to include with Chrome downloads; the browser will install the plug-ins as part of its own installation process. Adobe will also hand binaries of Flash updates -- both major upgrades and the more frequent security updates to patch vulnerabilities -- to Google, which will feed them into its update mechanism.