Chrome Begins Blocking Flash Next Month

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Google is making good on its promise of "HTML5 by default" for the Chrome browser.

Next month's release of Chrome 53 begins blocking Adobe Flash on the Web and replacing it with HTML5, which, before the end of the year, will become the standard in version 55.

"This is similar to a change we made last September, when some Flash content became click-to-play with Chrome 42," Anthony LaForge, curator of Flash in Chrome, wrote in a blog post. "This had an immediate, positive impact for our users by improving page load times and saving battery power."

HTML5 will become the primary experience on Chrome, as long as a website offers it. Visit a site that requires Flash, and the browser will display a prompt at the top of the page asking if you want to run it.

"Aside from that, the only change you'll notice is a safer and more power-efficient browsing experience," LaForge said.

Since the Web is not totally rid of Flash — and to "avoid over-prompting" — Google's browser will continue to support Flash on the top 10 sites that use it: YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, VK.com, Live.com, Yandex.ru, OK.ru, Twitch.tv, Amazon, and Mail.ru.

This "whitelist" will expire after one year, and the Chrome team will periodically revisit it to remove sites whose usage no longer warrants an exception.

Google also plans to add policy controls for enterprises, allowing users to manage individual site preferences, including the ability to completely disable the feature.

Last fall, Chrome 45 began automatically pausing less-important Flash content like ads, animations, and any "non-central" content. The move "significantly reduces power consumption, allowing you to surf the Web longer before having to hunt for a power outlet," Google said at the time.

Facebook, Vimeo, Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch followed suit, beginning the transition from Flash to HTML5.

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