back to article Google makes it official: Chrome will freeze Flash ads on sight from Sept 1

Google is making good on its promise to strangle Adobe Flash's ability to auto-play in Chrome. The web giant has set September 1, 2015 as the date from which non-important Flash files will be click-to-play in the browser by default – effectively freezing out "many" Flash ads in the process. Netizens can right-click over the …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    No matter why, good for Google.

    Seems to be more of a self-serving reason than anything else, but if it helps to kill Flash, it'll be a good thing.

    1. Groaning Ninny

      Re: No matter why, good for Google.

      I'm tempted to disagree. I don't have flash installed on my PCs, so the more people use it for ads, the fewer ads I see.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No matter why, good for Google.

        @Groaning Ninny; Amen, I have Flashblock on my computer, and aside from the security aspect, it was great for avoiding obnoxiously distracting animated ads until Google et al started moving towards HTML5.

        (Editing hosts.txt to bypass most of the common ad servers- Google's included- has worked, but that's still not an elegant or scaleable solution IMHO).

        Ironically, I've had to disable Flashblock on (Google's) YouTube as they changed it so that it didn't work with Flash disabled. (*) This is less convenient than previously, when Flashblock had the convenient side-effect of stopping videos from starting as soon as the page loaded (rather than when they were clicked); this is a bloody nuisance if I want to open something in a new tab for future viewing while I'm still watching the current video. Thanks Google!

        (*) I thought the point of the upgrade was that Google were supposed to be using HTML5 functionality, so why would disabling Flash- or making it click-to-play- break it?

        1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

          "why would disabling Flash- or making it click-to-play- break it?"

          Simple: the JavaScript that loads the video and makes the decision to use HTML5 vs. Flash simply detects the presence of the Flash plugin rather than checks if it works. Properly checking for Flash would take an unnecessary amount of time since you'd have to wait for it time-out before you can declare it non-functional, or risk throwing errors all over the place.

          Video streaming services tend to prefer Flash since its had more time to mature, and Flash running on one platform works just as well as Flash on a completely different one whereas different browsers implement HTML5 differently.

        2. F0rdPrefect

          Re: No matter why, good for Google.

          "Ironically, I've had to disable Flashblock on (Google's) YouTube as they changed it so that it didn't work with Flash disabled"

          But it does work with no Flash installed.

          So far the only thing that I have found that needs Flash is the BBC, which is good as I want to read the news, not have somebody wittering at me.

  2. Ole Juul

    Remedial

    Interestingly, Google's security engineers have been helping Adobe's programmers

    Adobe is a rich company. How embarrassing for them not to be doing their own homework.

    1. Tromos

      Re: Remedial

      I'm wondering how much of their riches are due to not paying for some competent programmers.

      1. nichomach
        Trollface

        @Tromos Re: Remedial

        I'd have replied to that, but the plugin crashed, sooo....

      2. Spoonsinger

        Re: "I'm wondering how much of their riches are due to not paying for some competent programmers."

        Maybe, just maybe, competent programmers would rather actually do other stuff. Not saying competent programmers couldn't fix the problem for - you know - money. But given the choice probably not that interesting to write and maintain an API to display stuff on various platforms in a browser and take flak for not considering every possibility situation. There are way easier methods to earn money.

        Programmers arn't nurses. We do stuff for money and fun, (probably mostly fun). So if you are going down that "why can't programmers do this" route. It's because they really don't have to and if pushed can find other fields to ply their skills while still being surly - but actually getting the job done.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Remedial

      It seems any improvement in Flash is done first by Google and second back ported to NPAPI and ActiveX. So yes it is a bit embarrassing.

  3. PNGuinn
    Mushroom

    Important malware...

    So - there's Important Malware and Unimportant Malware now is there?

    Just KILL flash eveywhere and be done with it.

    Note to website developers:

    If your website doesn't work properly on my computer 'cause you use / allow flash and I've blocked it (for obvious reasons) it's because *YOUR WEBSITE IS SHIT*. DEAL WITH IT.

    1. Vic

      Re: Important malware...

      If your website doesn't work properly on my computer 'cause you use / allow flash and I've blocked it (for obvious reasons) it's because *YOUR WEBSITE IS SHIT*.

      A former customer of mine changed their site to be all-Flash - against my (prior) advice. The MD was really quite annoyed at me when I mentioned that Flash is a poor solution for a general-purpose site like theirs.

      I'm pleased to reveal that the Flash site has been thrown away. Not that I'm going to take them back as customers, though...

      Vic.

    2. JP19

      Re: Important malware...

      "If your website doesn't work properly"

      I tried to look at this one the other day www.olamef.com

      Hard to believe a company still has a web site which does no more than tell you you don't have the latest version of flash installed (hard to believe a company ever had one really).

    3. andrewj

      Re: Important malware...

      The execrable "performance management" crud we have to do several times per year runs on Flash, so killing it would be an additional win, win, win, win win as far as anyone outside HR is concerned.

  4. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    Dissappointed...

    The headline gave me hope that "not running flash" would become mainstream.

    Anyone for a sweepstake on the time of appearance of first flash ad that tricks the "non-important" rule? In minutes? No? In seconds?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Dissappointed...

      Better than nothing.

      C.

    2. Dharma

      Re: Dissappointed...

      I'll stick with keeping Flash totally disabled until I choose to turn it on, so I'm not going to know the answer.

  5. Aoyagi Aichou

    Great...

    As I said elsewhere:

    Yes, it'll be great when all Flash advertisements with loud music become HTML5 ones and you'll need a 3rd party tool to block them. Absolutely the best thing along with killing off one of the most powerful and yet relatively easy to develop with tools on the web.

    But hey, at least I was reminded of this site http://flashvhtml.com/

    1. cbars

      Re: Great...

      It doesn't matter how easy it is to develop 'things' with flash, it is full of holes. It's pretty easy to use a gun, it's also pretty easy to hurt others with one.

      They are both tools, they are both inherently unsafe.

      Coincidentally, the second one let's you make holes in other things, just like flash in a browser!

      1. Aoyagi Aichou

        Re: Great...

        With that kind of argumentation, it's amazing Android is so popular, isn't it.

        Not to mention, again, Flash is very easily blockable in a click-to-play fashion. Unlike HTML5.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great...

        I'm already running NoScript again. AdBlock has always done a decent job of blocking both Flash and HTML5 ads. Unfortunately, regular websites are being replaced by the HTML5 equivalent of those moronic whizbang all-Flash sites that were big in the early 2000s.

        P.S. Adobe wrote most of the HTML5 standards, which are just recycled Flash APIs. Flash isn't dead, it's been integrated into the browser.

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Great...

      Just played the first browser game in my life (html5 version). Sadly I sucked.

  6. cbars

    yay

    Don't care if Google benefits, don't care if malware authors get round it quickly. This shows a step change in attitude towards flash which is only a good thing. The other browser vendors have been quick to copy chrome in the past, and I hope that happens in this case.

    This is a good thing for the majority of people, and therefore a good thing in my book. Huzzah!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there really anyone out there still browsing without an ad-blocker?

    Seriously?

    1. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Is there really anyone out there still browsing without an ad-blocker?

      If there weren't, do you really think these ads would still exist?

      1. FIA

        Re: Is there really anyone out there still browsing without an ad-blocker?

        If there weren't, do you really think these ads would still exist?

        …or even the sites themselves.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Is there really anyone out there still browsing without an ad-blocker?

          All Microsoft Edge users are browsing without an Ad Blocker.

  8. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    So close now....

    It's nearly dead, keep hitting it with the stick!

    1. Seanie Ryan

      Re: So close now....

      only 8 years after the iphone .... kinda show how long it takes others to wake up

  9. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Flash has been in a vegetative state for some time.

    Adobe knows this and is adjusting to the new reality. They should do the decent thing and pull the plug.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What annoys me is news pages that have a fully explanatory text - yet auto-play an embedded video.

    YouTube is annoying in that it appears to have an options default of "autoplay - on" . When the video you selected has finished it - then automatically plays the next one in its carousel. Setting the option to "off" seems to have a very limited life of possibly a few hours.

  11. Velv Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    OK, I know it pays for everything and I'm the customer being sold, but can we just turn off advertising.

    Realistically advertisers PLEASE stop auto-playing adverts. If I'm browsing the web and everyone in the office turns to look at me because of your blaring advert then you've just lost a potential customer irrespective of what you're punting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      THIS

      +1.

      Also, if you force full-screen ads on me, I will deliberately go back and get the news / content from somewhere else* on the basis that it is the most irritating and egregious exploit of my attention.

      Same goes for content layout fails because ad loading has been prioritised over the raison d'etre.

      *And probably not come back.

      1. Sven Coenye

        Re: THIS

        I chuck the interfering chunks with FireBug, then do what I came for. Then I don't come back.

        (You can accomplish quite a bit this way, like bypassing the opaque/distorted layers some sites use to force collection of personal info/permission before granting access, or make more of the essential content fit without needing scroll bars, ...)

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: THIS

          "bypassing the opaque/distorted layers some sites use to force collection of personal info/permission before granting access"

          But that means you miss out on the opportunity to lie to them.

          1. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: THIS

            "bypassing the opaque/distorted layers some sites use to force collection of personal info/permission before granting access"

            And that's what HackTheWeb is for, clearly. Activate, mouse over, press "R", done. Wanna get rid of it forever? Then it's "K" (as long as you also have RIP installed). It's a must-have if I ever saw one...

    2. Boothy

      Mute!

      Mute is your friend.

      The only time my mute is off, is when I have headphones plugged in.

  12. 8Ace

    "Google's security engineers have been helping Adobe's programmers"

    Software types are not engineers..... just stating a fact.

    Engineers can also develop software, but software developers are not engineers

  13. LDS Silver badge
    Devil

    You will able to get only Google delivered malware...

    ... we don't want you infected by anybody else!

    In other news, Google wants Apple developers to switch off HTTPS for its ads...

  14. DrXym Silver badge

    Won't mean much really

    While Flash has outlived its usefulness the reality is that advertisers can implement the same annoying behaviour in HTML5 and now its competing in the same thread as the rest of the content. So if anything performance is more likely to suffer with all-HTML5 ads than it would with a plugin.

  15. zebm

    Hopefully the BBC cotton on

    I have to re-enable flash each time I want to use iPlayer on my ChromeBook, then I switch it back off afterwards. Still less irritating than have to put up with all the flash has crashed bits,.

  16. Brian Allan 1

    Wouldn't hurt my feelings one bit if ALL video/flash ads were blocked! Total waste of my internet bandwidth!!

  17. arctic_haze Silver badge

    Stopping HTML5 autoplay in Firefox

    Just set media.autoplay.enabled to false (about:config is the page to go). It will stop autoplay in HTML5 videos... which do behave. For those which don't (like YouTube), the next released version of Firefox, ver. 41 set for September 22 release, should solve the problem for good. You actually may get it today as the Firefox 41 Beta (with all the caveats applicable for beta versions).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stopping HTML5 autoplay in Firefox

      Cheers for the heads up. Didn't know about that particular Firefox feature.

  18. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "non-important Flash files will be click-to-play in the browser by default"

    Wrong way to do it. Make ALL Flash files click to play. And I don't mind Flash in ads because I don't get to see them anyway.

  19. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    At least somebody out there read 'The Art of War'

    There's a plug-in that merrily clicks ALL the ads in a hidden manner, behind the scenes.

    It's a bit like Judo...

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: At least somebody out there read 'The Art of War'

      Fantastic... Does it also run the malware on the landing page it reaches, and confess to the RIAA/Police for accessing illegal content?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does Google penalise a sites ranking when they have Flash?

    They should.

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