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Chrome Integrates Flash To Improve Performance

The Google Chrome Dev channel has been updated to 5.0.360.4 for Windows and Mac. In this new development build, Google has decided to integrate the Adobe Flash Player in a manner that hasn’t been done before. You will no longer need to download and install the Flash Plugin separately. You won’t have to worry about keeping the Flash Player up-to-date. All you need is the latest Dev channel build and you’re good to go.

It seems odd that Google is trying to improve performance and security on the Adobe Flash Player during a time when many are looking towards HTML5 as the new standard. The Apple iPad doesn’t even support Flash and many companies are starting to look into the whole HTML5 thing, including sites like CBS. Brightcove even has a complete HTML5 solution in the works for it’s clients which aims to duplicate many of the things from Flash that major brands need to succeed.

It seems that Google recognizes, as does Brightcove, that HTML5 and Flash will probably be working side-by-side for quite some time and to completely rule out Adobe Flash would be a mistake. To this end, they have sited a few reasons why they have taken this route in improving Flash support in Chrome:

  • The browser plug-in interface is loosely specified
  • Limited in capability
  • Varies across browsers and operating systems leading to incompatibilities
  • These inconsistencies lead to performance degradation
  • There are also many security issues to consider in it’s current implementation

Google is working with Adobe, Mozilla, and the entire community as a whole to tackle this problem by creating the next-generation plug-in API. “This new API aims to address the shortcomings of the current browser plug-in model. There is much to do and we’re eager to get started.” Besides taking the responsibility off of the user to make sure the Flash Player is up-to-date, thereby avoiding security flaws, Google plans to further protect users by extending Chrome’s “sandbox” to web pages with Flash content.

This new plug-in API could go a long way in protecting users from malware that often hides in Flash/Javascript ads, a practice otherwise known as “malvertising.” In the long-term, we could see this new plug-in API improve plug-in performance and security across the board, making your average plug-in as stable and efficient as your browser itself.

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