Google Killing Off Flash-Based Ads By June - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

Google Killing Off Flash-Based Ads By June

While Adobe Flash is little loved, its retirement has been a slow one. Google has announced steps to speed the process, and it will switch over to an HTML5 format in June.

9 Reasons Flash Must Die, And Soon
9 Reasons Flash Must Die, And Soon
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Google contributed to the slow extinction of Adobe Flash Feb. 9, announcing that the Google Display Network and DoubleClick Digital Marketing are going 100% HTML5.

As of June 30, neither platform will accept uploads of display ads built in Flash. As of Jan. 2, 2017, neither platform will run ads built in Flash.

The move is intended to "enhance the browsing experience for more people on more devices," according to Google.

Left unsaid was the growing call for a full retirement of Flash, which has been linked to security incidences.

Adobe moved away from the Flash name in November, announcing Nov. 30 that Flash Professional CC had been renamed Animate CC and would focus on HTML5.

Animate CC still supports Flash (SWF) and AIR formats, Adobe noted, and its Flash Player will continue to be used in categories like Web gaming and premium video, "where new standards have yet to fully mature."

(Image: Prykhodov/iStockphoto)

(Image: Prykhodov/iStockphoto)

Adobe went on to describe Flash as having played a "leading role" in bringing new capabilities to the Web, but said that the open-source HTML has matured and now provides "many of the capabilities that Flash ushered it."

In addition, Adobe noted that it was working with Facebook to ensure that Flash gaming content on the social network would continue to run securely, and that Facebook would report to Adobe any security information it could use to keep the Flash Player secure.

[Read more about Flash's security problems.]

In its own announcement Dec. 18, Facebook said that while it was working with Adobe to keep Flash-based games "reliable and secure," it had switched from Flash to HTML5 for all of its Web video surfaces, including videos in users' News Feeds, Pages, and in the Facebook embedded video player.

While there were challenges to the switch, wrote Daniel Baulig, a front-end engineer at Facebook, it ultimately made development easier and positively impacted the user experience. Since the switch, Baulig wrote, videos start playing faster, users report fewer bugs, and users now "like, comment and share more videos."

While Adobe is taking steps to retire Flash, many have faulted the company for its slow pace.

Forrester Research principal analyst Jeffrey Hammonds was widely re-quoted in December after telling Wired: "Adobe's strategy is to make money regardless of what happens in the market. They understand that there's a slow transition to HTML5 going on."

In January, YouTube changed its default streaming standard from Flash to HTML5.

Google is directing advertisers with Flash ads to create new image ads using free Google tools, or to create their own HTML5 ads.

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Michelle Maisto is a writer, a reader, a plotter, a cook, and a thinker whose career has revolved around food and technology. She has been, among other things, the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise Magazine, a reporter on consumer mobile products and wireless networks for ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2016 | 9:37:43 PM
Re: Same experience on all platforms
I find it interesting that no other product has managed to make sure the user experience is the same. It's an extremely important piece of the puzzle in when doing things like training where you need to ensure everyone has the same information presented in the same way. If some one can do that without the security risks of Flash, they'd make a mint.
User Rank: Ninja
2/13/2016 | 7:28:16 AM
Same experience on all platforms
As much of a patch palooza Flash is, it still is the only web technology that provides the same experience across all platforms. HTML5 does not do that! HTML5 isn't even rendered the same using various browsers on the same OS. Even the same browser on different OS renders HTML5 differently. And there is not a single browser available that fully supports all of the HTML5 specification.

Killing Flash may solve one or two problems, but it removes the only option to deliver the same UX to users regardless of OS/browser used. All the Flash bashers should now fix that problem, but I guess dissing a technology that is not theirs is much easier than providing a better option.
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2016 | 8:09:19 PM
Re: Goodbye and Good Riddance
For years, Adobe had no incentive to slow down the development of Flash. It was Google that spearheaded this movement to HTML5, and Apple's distaste of it also never helped because of its performance hindrances. 

Fortunatley for Adobe, they've been able to transition into other interesting technologies such as Creative Cloud in order to make up for the lost revenue of Flash's decline as a technology of choice on the web. 
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2016 | 8:17:22 AM
Re: Migration
Yes Flash has been an issue for some time regarding security, buggy behavior and general performance issues but I can't help defending it a little here, Java plugins were equally rough to work with in many cases but they didn't generate nearly as much hate as watching a Flash player load.  Oracle says they are going to retire the Java plug-in but applets and Webstart will still exist.  Maybe the death of Flash will wake Oracle up and they will pull the plug a little sooner.
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2016 | 7:16:39 AM
Re: Migration
I have to agree. As much as I have a soft spot for Flash for all of the games and animations I've played/watched over the years, the fact that it's causing so many security and performance headaches remains. It's time we retired it officially and this is another step in the right direction.
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2016 | 2:53:04 AM
Migrating to a new platform can be time consuming for the user, difficult and complex for the enterprise, viewed as impossible by the industry and impossible on a global scale (POS stations still exists that are connected through dial-up). However, migration is the process that transforms Win 98 into Win 10 and the productivity gains that it associates. 
User Rank: Author
2/10/2016 | 4:21:23 PM
Re: Goodbye and Good Riddance
It's a small step forward on the road of progress.
User Rank: Ninja
2/10/2016 | 3:43:22 PM
Goodbye and Good Riddance
One less thing to go wrong and cause trouble
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