​Google to hit pause on Flash ads in Chrome on September 1

Time's up for companies using Flash ads to reach 15 percent of the world's desktop browsers.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google will hammer one more nail in Flash's coffin with a feature that will soon prevent many Flash ads from displaying in Chrome desktop.

The feature was rolled out to Chrome beta in June and will become generally available on September 1. While Google won't block Flash in Chrome outright, it will only allow it to play "central content" like videos while pausing peripheral content such as Flash animations.

Google said yesterday that the feature will mean "pausing many Flash ads". Chrome users will be able to choose to run the Flash ads if they want, but they'll need to manually enable that in Chrome's content settings.

Amazon too has chosen September 1 to step serving Flash ads on amazon.com, citing changes to Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari that limit Flash content.

Google has described its shift away from Flash as a means of reducing Chrome's impact on battery life and performance on laptops, addressing one of the chief complaints about its browser on Macs.

While that's true, a sideline benefit of marginalising Flash in Chrome is that it could help drag the advertising industry away from one of the main security threats to desktop computers. Flash vulnerabilities -- many of them found by Google's researchers -- are regularly targeted by hackers, affecting both Windows and Mac users.

As for advertisers that use Google's AdWords, Google is already helping them move away from Flash by automatically converting Flash to HTML5.

And there's a wider push in the online advertising industry to boost the use of HTML5 in display advertising.

That means Flash isn't going to disappear any time soon, as some would like, but the walls are closing in on the media player.

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