Adobe Flash's newest enemy: Google

Starting Tuesday, Google's Chrome browser won't automatically play ads that use Flash -- another blow for the long-criticized animation software.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
2 min read

Google is just the latest tech giant to pile on against Flash.

Adobe Systems

The largest tech companies in the world -- from Apple to Facebook -- have a death wish for Flash, the Adobe-made Web animation software. Add another heavy-hitter to the list: Google.

On Tuesday, the search giant will no longer automatically play advertisements made with Flash on its Chrome browser, the most popular Web browser in the world. (If you want to turn on autoplay again, you can.)

The move, first announced in June, changes the playing field for the advertising creatives that have grown accustomed to the animation software.

Why so much vitriol for a piece of software? Flash has long been a popular tool for displaying animation and video on the Web, but in recent years, tech companies have criticized the software for being a battery hog and security vulnerability. (Google software engineer Tommy Li cited battery drain in the company's June announcement to pause the ads.)

Neither Google nor Adobe responded to requests for comment.

Google's shift has caused a ripple effect. Amazon said last week that it would stop displaying Flash ads on its website, specifically because of the changes made by Google and existing policies by other Web browsers.

The hit from Google is just the latest example of tech giants piling on Flash. Last month, Facebook security chief Alex Stamos vented his frustration in a post on Twitter. "It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day," wrote Stamos. Shortly after, Mozilla, which makes the popular browser Firefox, said it was blocking Flash in Firefox as a default.

In 2010, Steve Jobs, then-CEO of Apple, wrote a manifesto against Flash to explain his decision to remove Flash support from the company's iOS software, which powers iPhones and iPads. The move prompted websites to scramble to support alternative standards, like HTML5, and diminished the power Flash had on the Web.

In the letter, Jobs called out Adobe on Flash's poor security record, as well as being the "Number 1 reason Macs crash."

"Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind," Jobs wrote.