Flash is dead. Again. Almost. They say a cat has nine lives and there might be some truth to that (me and cats don’t get along; they’re indifferent, smug, self-righteous, disloyal; and they lick their butts; what’s to like?).
Flash is the digital world’s version of a cat with nine lives. It just won’t die. Many have tried. All– to date– have failed. The latest to try to put Flash out of its misery is none other than Google which was also guilty of prolonging the inevitable.
Problems With Flash
Flash is as much a zombie as anything; a once living, thriving, vibrant but proprietary platform for media, animation, and other tricks not easily performed on typical computers of the last century, so Adobe built an entire ecosystem of Flash and for awhile much of whatever was multimedia on the internet was based on the accursed product.
Flash should have died under its own weight but video on the internet kept it alive far longer than it should have. Apple’s Steve Jobs almost killed flash with his ‘Thoughts on Flash‘ missive back in 2010 when critics howled that iPhone wouldn’t run Flash.
Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.
The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 250,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.
New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.
That was more than six years ago and Apple has long since kept Flash off new Macs. How did Flash continue in a world dominated by HTML5 and mobile devices? Thanks go to Google which embedded Flash in the Google browser. That allowed many millions of Mac users to keep Flash out of Safari (the way God intended), and only use Chrome with Flash whenever Flash was a requirement. Even then, Chrome became a resource hog and crash-happy browser, all thanks to Flash.
Google has had enough. Flash Death #7 was when Adobe changed the name from Flash to Animate; so toxic was the Flash brand. Now Google has had enough. Almost. This might be Flash Death #8 because the search engine giant and last stronghold of anything Flash has decided Flash will only be usable on the Chrome browser on the Top 10 Websites (YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, et al). Unless you’re willing to personally authorize Flash for other sites. See? Even when kicked to the curb by the world’s last great Flash proponent, Flash remains alive and kicking. Barely.
Google wants to make HTML5 the primary user experience (still following Apple, eh, Google?) by the end of 2016, but the exception will be for those most popular Flash-using User-abusing websites which get a one year reprieve.
Flash does almost nothing on the 2.5-billion iOS and Android mobile devices in the world but remains a user installable choice for Mac users who fall into two camps: 1) those with some crazy pressing need to run Flash for a business website, or, 2) the crazy ones too crazy even for Apple to coddle.
Flash is dead. Almost. That’s a recurring refrain is it not?