Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Chrome Embeds Flash!

Category: Adobe, Flash, Google, Mozilla


For some time now, Adobe has been working with platform vendors to include the Flash plug-in pre-loaded. We’ve seen this ages ago in Windows, and more recently with Adobe’s efforts in the Open Screen Project.

Now, there’s news of something a little bit different. In our second Google-y post of the week, there’s the news that Chrome now embeds Flash directly in the browser, starting today with the developer channel builds of Chrome.

While this doesn’t change the game for developers–it won’t materially impact Flash market share–it certainly provides a much more pleasant integration for users who will no longer need to think about updating Flash as a separate process to updating their browsers. (And since Chrome auto-updates, it’s blissful upgrading indeed.)

Plug-ins with a Dash of Pepper

What *may* impact developers more is news of Adobe working with Google and Mozilla to create a new, deeper browser plug-in API. While no timelines are given, some technical details are provided via a Mozilla Wiki page.

Code-named “Pepper”, the API provides all kinds of goodies denied to plug-ins before, such as using native GUI controls inside of a plug-in (i.e., scrollbars) instead of being forced to render its own and access to printing and the clipboard. Pepper also provides granular media APIs instead of forcing plug-ins to deal with graphics and audio on its own.

It will be interesting to see how successfully such an API can be implemented consistently cross-platform, but at first glance it seems to embrace about the right set of trade-offs.

Posted by Ben Galbraith at 9:00 am

3.1 rating from 45 votes


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Oh yeah, just what the web needs.. deeper integration with 3rd party plugin instead of working to get rid of 3rd party plugins. Google has once again proved that more IQ results retarded products.

Comment by Johnnyda — March 31, 2010

Great, what happens if I don’t want Flash on my computer.

Comment by blago — March 31, 2010

What’s next Silverlight?

@blago: boycot Chrome

Comment by Jadet — March 31, 2010

So much for Chome’s nearly perfect security record.

Hackers will jump on the chance of a Flash backdoor.

Comment by ck2 — March 31, 2010

About 98% of people have Flash player installed on their browser. Why not make the web browsing experience easier and more secure for them ? If you are the 2% who don’t want Flash, just uninstall it.

Comment by scubadude — March 31, 2010

OK, as long as I can disable it…

Comment by mjuhl — March 31, 2010

Don’t like Chrome? Use Firefox, Safari or IE8. It’s not like Google’s browser is the only option available.

Comment by smfoushee — March 31, 2010

@ck2, the problem with the existing plugin infrastructure as noted in the Google blog post about this and the initial Chrome intro-comic is that with the browser which is kept incredibly secure by using extensive sandboxing, but plugins can’t run sandboxed and need to be run with higher privledges and can cause more harm. Part of the purpose of this “deeper integration” is to reduce that risk by partnering with Adobe to get it to work with the sandbox.

Comment by antimatter15 — March 31, 2010

You guys are thinking too small. This looks a lot like a reverse Embrace-Extend-Extinguish tactic, which Google seems to like to do. And it looks like Adobe would go along with it.
I think that Flash will gradually be merged into HTML5/SVG through the embedding. Transition, rather than outright replacement, which always works better.
People really don’t give Adobe enough credit. Adobe is already working on exporting to HTML5 canvas.

Comment by jhiswin — March 31, 2010

I think Google, Adobe and Mozilla are trying to make Flash “un-Flash” like in terms of – no worrying about updating, more secure (running within browser’s native sandbox as it were), faster (I imagine), easier tailored to the browser’s look for consistency – there’s nothing wrong with that.

This doesn’t of course solve the issue of flash ads, but if you guys think that if flash were eliminated then annoying ads would go away, you’re being naive. In fact, I’d argue that once HTML5 is more mature and available on all browsers, people would find plenty of ways to use it to create annoying ads, and they would arguably be harder to filter out (via tools like adblock) because they wont be just SWF files, but rather blocks of HTML (and maybe some JS).

I think that Google thinks that Flash is going to stay a major part of the web experience for a while still and there’s a need to make it better where possible. I don’t know if it’s true or not, and I’m not even sure whether I like it or not, just haven’t given this much thought. However, I do think that the general attitude of open-mindedness, and the flexibility that Google is exhibiting here, is much more preferable to the hard anti-Flash stance that Apple is taking. More so since Apple’s attitude is not a result of any sort altruistic considerations but rather their stubbornness and refusal to work with Adobe for whatever (personal or business) reasons. The phrase “strong arm” comes to mind… but I don’t want to turn this into Google vs. Apple thing so I’ll stop.

Some people don’t like how Google seems to be constantly releasing new products or trying to push/create new technologies, and seems to be just all over the place. I, on the other hand, see it as a good thing – they’re not afraid to branch out, try new things, take a risk. Sometimes it doesn’t work out – notebook, gears, maybe buzz, possibly wave – but every failure is an opportunity to learn and improve. Is this “push for Flash” a good thing? I don’t know, but I also don’t know that it’s a bad thing, and I certainly see no harm in trying (to improve it).

Comment by iliad — March 31, 2010

I think they’re just having a dig at apple :-)
I think its a win-win for developers. Chrome is going full throttle on Canvas and Flash. What’s not to like?

Comment by AngusC — March 31, 2010

>> OK, as long as I can disable it…

Is there a way to turn it off?

Currently, I use the Chrome FlashBlock extension. If there’s no way to block Flash, I’ll switch back to Firefox.

Comment by Les — March 31, 2010

@Les We both should have read the post. Under “Known Issues” it alludes to the face that you’ll be able to disable it on the about:plugins page.

Comment by mjuhl — March 31, 2010

So FF is giving access to printing and the clipboard, and other system level commands, to a plugin? But the reason I use FF now is that it doesn’t give that access. Weren’t most of the security issues involved with IE enabled because that browser did give access to system level functionality?

Comment by edthered — March 31, 2010

Adobe should start fixing the anoying flash-reload bugs in firefox ( mozilla isn´t cappable of fixing this.

Comment by trixta — March 31, 2010

Happily this is an April fool.

Comment by AMIGrAve — March 31, 2010

i think google is making a great job with chrome, however, i just cant live without firefox, it is still the best around

Comment by ivanrojas — May 17, 2010

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