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Google Media Technology

Adobe Flash Now Officially a Part of Google Chrome 168

MacGene noted that Google has announced plans to include Flash with Chrome. This step will make Chrome easier for Mom & Pop to use, but comes with a host of issues that have been discussed here before. I expect them to announce Silverlight Thursday.
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Adobe Flash Now Officially a Part of Google Chrome

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  • I'm ok with it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @05:49PM (#31678160)
    The inclusion of Flash doesn't generate any issues that every other browser doesn't have. Since 99% of people end up installing Flash, it's probably just as well to include it. Those people who don't want it are all computer savvy enough to turn it off; for the rest, it's a service to have it included.
    • Re:I'm ok with it. (Score:5, Informative)

      by IrrepressibleMonkey ( 1045046 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @05:55PM (#31678268)
      I'm not sure that's true...

      When I go to this link... []

      ...and check out my Website Storage Settings, I see a whole bunch of sites that I've never even visited.

      (Or at least I don't want to admit too...)
    • Does this mean that ports of Chrome to other platforms will automatically be ports of Flash to those platforms? I'm still kinda disappointed the Nintendo DS version of Opera doesn't support Flash, even though I have serious doubts that the DS has enough memory to run most Flash apps anyway.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Flash should not be promoted, especially by a company like Google. Flash is not an example of a beneficial technology. It is nothing but a horrible bandage over the crippled client-side web "platform".

      Technologies like Flash, Silverlight, and Java applets need to die out. They should not be used, and companies like Google, who have lots of intelligent engineering talent, should not be pressing for its use.

      I would rather have seen Google embed Python in their browser, and let us have a real scripting environ

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Toonol ( 1057698 )
        I kind of agree; flash, java applets, silverlight, can be real nuisances, and it's not really their fault; it's due to a flawed browser paradigm. The client (the web-browser) was designed poorly to handle scripting back in the 90's, and it's been constant headaches ever since. The way the client was designed is innately flawed.

        I don't think switching to Python would make anything better. Actionscript, which is basically just modern Javascript, is a decent language... its only real problem is how it's
      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @07:11PM (#31679238) Homepage Journal

        The problems with client-side scripting have nothing to do with the language. Embedding another scripting language like Python would be unnecessarily confusing and would just add complexity where none is needed. What Flash provides that JavaScript does not are:

        • Possibly more powerful/flexible layout of text and images with greater control than the HTML DOM provides (but I'm not certain of this).
        • Animation, transition, and transform features that are compatible with the most popular browser (Internet Explorer).
        • A truckload of design tools for building up the content visually with a minimum of programming required.

        Notice that none of these have anything to do with deficiencies in the programming language. Indeed, the language used in Flash, ActionScript, is based on ECMAScript, which is the same fundamental foundation as JavaScript. So for all practical purposes, from a language feature perspective, there is already close parity. I won't go so far as to say they are the same language, but... they're so close that all you have to do is squint a little.

        Adding Python to a browser is just a recipe for magnifying the existing compatibility problems by splintering development into multiple camps. That's precisely the way to guarantee that Flash never goes away. Now, instead of focusing on tools for one language, you have to focus tools on two---one for Python in FireFox and maybe a couple of other browsers, and one to deal with JavaScript for all the browsers that won't ever support something like that (IE). To describe this as a terrible idea is insulting to terrible ideas.

        • by MikeFM ( 12491 )
          The problem with Flash is that it's a crap implementation that is buggy, a security risk, leaks memory, and is non-compatible with many systems. Probably if it were made a real standard with opensource code base it could be a lot better. The vast majority of stuff people use Flash for could be done without Flash if IE didn't suck so badly. You could almost say Flash is the only thing keeping Internet Explorer alive.

          Plug-ins are a bad idea anyway. At least the way they are commonly implemented. It'd be bette
          • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

            I couldn't agree more about Flash being awful. Flash causes nearly every Safari crash or hang I've ever seen, statistically speaking.

            I don't think Java is the answer, though. Java on mobile devices is an even worse battery hog than Flash would be. Build one on top of the other, and there goes your battery life in one easy step.

          • by mjbkinx ( 800231 )
            Please remind me, because I haven't seen it in a while for some reason -- how long does the Java plugin take to start up again?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The main problem is that historically, Flash developers have been extremely bad at implementing graceful degradation [], or even content description [] targetted specifically at users who do not have the capabilities (physical or technical) to comply with a specific technology.

          Javascript, over the years, has become extremely good at graceful degradation []. Toolkits such as JQuery really stress the fact that Javascript should be used to augment a user's experience [], without making support for said toolkit or langu
          • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

            No disagreement here.

          • by Canazza ( 1428553 ) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @04:20AM (#31684330)

            The problem is that the only viable alternative to Flash is Canvas.
            Internet Explorer doesn't support it except through a plugin
            Firefox supports it, but it's about 70% the speed of Chrome
            Chrome supports it, runs it the fastest (as far as I can tell anyway) but it's still about half as fast (Atleast) as an equivalent thing made in Flash.

            Javascript needs a serious kick up the arse from where it is now to even think of taking on Flash. It also needs a decent Developer GUI that can be handled by Artists (like Flash has)

            I love Canvas, and I love Javascript. But for ease of use, and for rapid development, I use Flash.
            Also, AS3 has a much better custom class syntax than JS that's much more similar to C++/C#.

    • by bynary ( 827120 )

      Since 99% of people end up installing Flash...

      Yes, according to Adobe []. Somehow methinks that number is a bit skewed in Adobe's favor.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Apple includes Flash in OS X Safari updates. I always have to remove it after updating Safari (last one was the upgrade to 4.0.5). I had to remove it again last night after applying the 10.6.3 update.

      I don't know if they include it in updates to Safari for Windows, but I know I'm sick of them including it in the OS X versions.
      • Flash Player ships on the OS X install disk, so Apple has to send out updates for it. Maybe they need a smarter installer that doesn't re-enable disabled plugins, especially ones that tend to be disabled for security reasons.

        FWIW, Microsoft used to do the same thing with Windows and Windows Update.

    • The inclusion of Flash doesn't generate any issues that every other browser doesn't have.

      At this point the most significant security hole in web browsing is Flash, so yes, it does add problems every other browser doesn't have.

    • by drolli ( 522659 )
      And having it in the Browser means a more controlled update path, for the unlucky of us whoc work under OS without a decent package manager.
    • by MikeFM ( 12491 )
      What about the computer savvy that have to fix the computers for the other 99% of people stupid enough to install Flash?
    • for the rest, it's a service to have it included.

      It's not much of a service, though. You can't reuse the images it contains, and you can't view source.

    • The inclusion of Flash doesn't generate any issues that every other browser doesn't have. Since 99% of people end up installing Flash, it's probably just as well to include it.

      Even better, IF you are going to use Flash anyway, this move will improve security since Google will now be able to push Flash updates transparently, and the Google blog topic on these news also brought up improvements to the sandbox to contain Flash. Instead of having to run it outside of the sandbox, I suppose?

  • hopefully.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Archon-X ( 264195 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @05:49PM (#31678168)

    Now, with a bit of luck, Chrome won't become unresponsive when it stumbles across flash applets.

    I love Chrome, but its poor flash handling (and stalling when downloading) drives me bonkers.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by bogaboga ( 793279 )

      For me, I find its interface still wanting and wish they (Google folks) adopted the "search within a page" functionality found in Firefox where I can simply start typing my search term or start the search process with a "/" - configurable by the way!

    • Just a thought; It would be kind of nice if GO could be handled like an applet.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MikeFM ( 12491 )
      Chrome sucks when you have 40 or 50 tabs open. Uses craploads of resources. Still doesn't seem to let me treat different tabs as different sessions (logged into two different GMail accounts at once).
      • To have completely different sessions of Gmail (or other services), open the incognito window (Ctrl+Shift+N). I find this mode really handy for web development to test stuff that require a secondary account.

        Firefox also has something similar, but last time I checked, you can't go Incognito and normal mode at the same time, unlike Chrome.

        • by MikeFM ( 12491 )
          Didn't seem to work for what I need last time I tried. Guess I'll try again. Usually end up just using different browsers which is annoying.
  • Is there a way to remove the pre-installed version of Flash from Chrome?

    • The core of Chrome is Chromium, and is open source (but Google developed). Chrome is really just a packaged distribution of Chromium. Even if you can't remove Flash from Chrome there are a number of third-party distributions, like SRWare Iron, which probably won't come with Flash.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by selven ( 1556643 )

      Download Chromium, the pure open source version.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jugalator ( 259273 )

        Or if you don't like unstable browsers, try renaming the included Flash DLL. It's not like it's baked into the executable or something.

    • More importantly is it going to remove 64 bit Flash and replace it with the release 32 bit version on my next update?

      If so then moving back to Chromium is the only hope I think.
    • by Mhtsos ( 586325 )

      I'm hoping flashblock extension will still work after the integration.. am I hoping for too much?

  • Do you really expect them to announce including Silverlight too? Why?

  • Who cares about silverlight? I don't install it on any browser I use, and so shouldn't anyone else.
    • by DAldredge ( 2353 )
      Why not? Why shouldn't I install Silverlight?
    • Re:Silverlight? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @06:08PM (#31678476)

      I have no particular desire to use Silverlight, but it's required for instant netflix streaming. And, honestly, it seems to handle it better than Flash. That's the only place I've ever needed it, but it's a pretty big reason to get it.
      • by MikeFM ( 12491 )
        I just got a Roku. $60 and you can watch on a tv. No Silverlight required.
    • by Jenming ( 37265 )

      Silverlights video streaming is rather better than flash. I was impressed with both the olympic and march madness (HQ) streaming. You can hate on microsoft if you want, but it doesn't make silverlight any worse.

  • CmdrTaco is en fuego (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @05:56PM (#31678276) Journal
    Hey, not that it has anything to do with anything, but Rob is ripping the one-liners attached to article summaries today.

    This article:
    I expect them to announce Silverlight Thursday.

    The Novell/SCO article:
    No doubt this is the last we will ever hear of any of this.

    The NASA/Toyota article:
    We're really in trouble when NASA has no choice but to call Bruce Willis.

    The slow-people-down-with-obstacles-article:
    All of that is gonna work a lot better than my strategy of placing car-sized holes covered with twigs and branches randomly every half mile or so down the interstates.

    Is CmdrTaco giddy with anticipation of some giant prank for Thursday? If he on the gigglejuice? Is he just happy spring is here?

    Who knows... but it's nice to see some light-hearted editorialization for a change.

    And, now, rightfully so, please mod this post into oblivion.
    • Is CmdrTaco giddy with anticipation of some giant prank for Thursday? Yes. I'm expecting perhaps OMG Ponies II: When Ponies Attack! [] But they might have some other brilliant plan.
    • by u38cg ( 607297 )
      CmdrTaco is probably the only bastion of sense that keeps me reading / doubt Thursday will end this forever, but until then...did you know Barack Obama was actually born in Michigan?
  • FTFA:

    Users will automatically receive updates related to Flash Player using Google Chrome’s auto-update mechanism. This eliminates the need to manually download separate updates and reduces the security risk of using outdated versions.

    How about a prompt? Anything that employs automatic updates makes me uneasy.

  • Ah Ha! (Score:5, Funny)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @05:57PM (#31678296) Journal

    "What are we going to do tonight, Brain?"

    "Same thing we every night, Flashy. Try and take over the world!"


    "Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Flashy?"

    "I think so. But how do you sneak tracking cookies past Porn Mode on Firefox?"

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward


    • "Same thing we ??? every night, Flashy. Try and take over the world!"

      Phew! Still there! </Quickly checks underpants>

  • and the bloat begins...
  • by WiseWeasel ( 92224 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @06:00PM (#31678352)

    So here's the story; Google releases a new Chromium build [] that does three things:
    1) A copy of the Flash plugin gets installed when Chrome/Chromium is installed, regardless of whether you already have it.
    2) Chrome/Chromium now runs its copy of the Flash plugin in a sandbox, so that malicious Flash content can't access your computer.
    3) Chrome/Chromium will now auto-scan for updates to the Flash plugin and install them in an automated fashion upon launch.

    So basically, the real story is that this is a security update for Chromium, mitigating many of the vulnerabilities with the current setup of having the Flash runtime be run with user privileges from a central location for all browsers, and managed by no one at all.

    There's also an announcement of a partnership between Google, Mozilla and Adobe to work on a new API for browser plugins, presumably involving browsers taking a more active role in managing their plugins, and allowing certain features like sandboxing and implementation of some type of common interface standards.

    What we get instead is reporting of Google thwarting Apple's putative war on Flash, somehow breathing new life into the beleaguered standard, where Apple would surely do the opposite of whatever Google is doing. I'd not be surprised to see Safari adopt some very similar features in the near future, as they all make pretty good sense, at least for their desktop browser. If only these "journalists" knew enough about what they were reporting to recognize their need to eat crow at that point.

  • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @06:00PM (#31678362) Homepage Journal
    what part of "don't be evil" do you not understand?!!!
    • Are you the type of person who also believes a politician stating, that he never was evil, and never will be again? ^^

  • Don't get me wrong, Google has done a lot to push good open web standards, but this decision is one to cater to the masses instead of leading them. Flash needs to die. I love the web, but I also love obscure BeOS based OSS operating systems- which while Chrome doesn't support, its marketshare certainly influences the web sites we ALL visit. If Google starts bundling Flash, then it becomes even more "required" than it already is. I know I'm not alone here especially with the influx of new mobiles and mobile
  • Processes per page? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @06:11PM (#31678516)

    Presumably this integration will allow multiple flash apps on a page all running in a single flash process. This could have dramatic performance benefits in page loads and memory utilization.

    • That's quite a leap. The browser having multi-process capabilities has nothing to do with Flash being able to render multiple movies in the same process. This might get Adobe to start thinking in those terms though; which would be nice.
    • I agree, maybe this is a reason for Chrome's performance with Flash. I always considered that possibility. And it would definitely be worth it for me. That, and the increased likelihood I'm always running the latest and most security-fixed version of Flash.

  • Comparing this report (which shows flash plugin usage within chrome users) [] to this report (which shows general flash plugin usage) - it seems only 2% of chrome users have no flash plugin compared to 3.9% across all browsers. []

    Depending on how you look at it, this is either a sign chrome users don't need additional help getting flash installed or that google is simply catering to their users who have a special affinity for the flash plugin - you decide.

    My guess would be this is some special strategic bond

  • If HTML5 is a potential competitor to Adobe Flash, and it will be widely supported out of the box in browsers, it would make sense for Adobe to move towards inclusion in browsers. This is an [anti-]competitive move to ensure continued use of flash.

    Silverlight may follow suit for this reason also. However for this reason, I imagine Internet Explorer would be the last browser to have flash built-in.
    • Well, as long as browsers start to provide html 5 support there isn't a problem. Sites can be upgraded to serve html 5 video, with fallback to flash if the browser doesn't support it.

  • I wonder if this is a slighting technique on Google's part.
  • I'd prefer Java to be packaged with Chrome. In the late 1995s we assumed that Java applets would be the future of the web. Its still a good technology make fast by the evolution of computing. Its just getting java packaged with browsers, was the shortfall.


    Java Programming [] Feed @ Feed Distiller []

    • Re:Would prefer Java (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShadowRangerRIT ( 1301549 ) on Tuesday March 30, 2010 @06:56PM (#31679098)
      Java startup time is too big a hurdle. Even with the modern JVMs the startup time is far longer than the time needed to download the page content on a broadband connection. Flash won that war largely because it didn't lag nearly as badly (and tended to be less of a memory hog). Java may win on execution speed after startup, and it may be more OSS friendly, and it may be more flexible and better documented, but if your user experience is that it takes too long to start and it eats all their memory, the rest doesn't matter. They'll click away from the page and never visit again.
      • by gaspyy ( 514539 )

        Flash won that war largely because it didn't lag nearly as badly
        Flash doesn't lag at all. It's streaming. Loading is one thing, but the initialization is instant (even for very complex apps with tons of graphics and in excess of 50 KLOC).

        I'll grant you on execution speed. When dealing with complex algorithms, a flash app profiled and optimized down to the opcode level will run about the same or slower as a plain java app. On the whole, Flash is bout 5 times slower than Java. Of course, when dealing with "no

      • And it’s so incredibly easy to solve that problem: Just run the JVM all the time, with one JVM running for all the Java processes.
        The only problem left: On my system, Java apps use insane amounts of RAM (around 1 GB for a simple utility).

        Although I have 3 Java apps that use daily and really like. I won’t not use them, just because they are Java apps.
        But some native compilation should do them good.

  • I don't see this as a bad thing. But honestly, why is Google doing this? I mean it takes less than 30 seconds to download, install Flash, and reboot the browser after initial Chrome install.

    I personally think it may be a response to Apple not allowing Flash on the iPad and iPhone. Google has stakes in Flash, such as their charts on Google Finance. Google also may have done this in response to Apple's new plans for advertising []. And lets not forget that much of advertising on the web is Flash content. If Appl

  • I can understand that users need Flash functionality, however I kind of wonder how problematic this will be for Google. Google may want to port their browser to other platforms which Flash may not support, say for Android, or whatever. Imagine someone wants to use ChromeOS on MIPS, or some yet to develop processor architecture. Then there are all the security issues typical of a closed source product. Google will be publicly distributing code which they do not control, can debug, patch or maintain. People s
  • would mean "Google Chrome Now Officially Not Free Software".

    Fortunately, it isn't.

  • April fools day is April 1st, not March 30th.
  • A large point of the story was the development, by Google and Adobe, of a new standard for creating plugins.

    Did anyone else find this the most interesting part of the story?

Neutrinos have bad breadth.