After blocking Flash ads last year, the Chrome team is ready to start blocking Flash content by default on most websites. Only the top 10 sites will get an extra year exemption, and after that their Flash content would be blocked as well. Browser users will still be able to manually play Flash inside Chrome for a while longer.
Last year, Chrome began block auto-playing Flash ads, as they would consume too much power, and they can also represent as a security risk. Not long before that, Mozilla had to block all Flash content by default for a short period, because of multiple critical Flash vulnerabilities that affected Firefox users.
Flash has been a major source of critical vulnerabilities impacting hundreds of millions of browser users. For the most part, Chrome’s sandboxing could protect against those vulnerabilities, but not all browsers have sandboxing that can contain the Flash vulnerabilities, and even if they do, the protection may not be as potent.
After the aforementioned one-year extension, the top 10 sites will get the same treatment as all the other sites with Flash content. The ten sites include YouTube.com, Yahoo.com, VK.com, Live.com, Yandex.ru, OK.ru, Twitch.tv, Amazon.com, and Mail.ru.
Chrome will continue to support Flash for an indeterminate period of time, so users can still activate it on sites on which it is blocked by default if they deem it necessary. The sites that require Flash to run will prompt visitors with a choice to allow Flash or keep it disabled.
On some sites, such as Pandora.com, visitors are now automatically prompted to download Flash from Adobe’s site when they find that Flash can’t be played by default. Once the Flash blocking policy goes into effect, Chrome will intercept this type of request and instead prompt the visitors with an “Allow Flash Player…” info bar. Meanwhile, enterprises will be given the option to “Always run Flash content.”
Google also said that in the future, the term “plugin” will be replaced by the term “Flash Player,” as that will be the last supported plugin in Chrome.
Adobe itself has begun encouraging developers to stop creating Flash content and focus on HTML5 instead, so it’s likely that Flash won’t be around much longer in other browsers, either.
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. You can follow him at @lucian_armasu.