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Google Building Flash Into Chrome & Chrome OS

Gordon Kelly


Google Building Flash Into Chrome & Chrome OS

The increasingly sour relationship between Apple and Google has hit new heights today with the news Google is to make Flash support a fundamental part of its products.

"Adobe Flash Player is the most widely used web browser plug-in," said Google Chrome engineering VP Linus Upson in an official blog post. "It enables a wide range of applications and content on the Internet, from games, to video, to enterprise apps... As a first step, we’ve begun collaborating with Adobe to improve the Flash Player experience in Google Chrome. Today, we’re making available an initial integration of Flash Player with Chrome in the developer channel. We plan to bring this functionality to all Chrome users as quickly as we can."

The key benefits of the move are that 1. Users will no longer need to worry about downloading Flash as a separate update, 2. Flash then will automatically update with Chrome, 3. Google can extend its sandbox protection to include Flash content - important given the number of productivity sites which use Flash.

Of course these are all commendable benefits, but given Apple famously insists Flash will die out with the rise of HTML5 - a simplistic view that could take years to occur, if ever - it does also smack of na-nah-na-na-nah. Given that Chrome OS is essentially Chrome, this also means Flash support will be native to Google's impending Cloud-based platform which is seen as a primary challenger to iPhone OS in the tablet sector.

Clearly then the gloves are off between the two, but what can Apple do in retaliation? Reports that it could launch a search engine seem wildly fanciful and can it really afford to pull Google Maps and YouTube support from the iPhone, iPod touch and impending iPad?

In related Googely news the company has announced OAuth access to IMAP/SMTP in Gmail, potentially opening the door for the widespread development of third party Gmail add-ons. OAuth - as widely used in Twitter - allows users to share access to their accounts with third parties without revealing their password or divulging private content. SmartPush (pictured) is one of the first apps to already take advantage of this, and expect a wave of content to soon follow.


Flash Chrome Official Blog Post

Google OAuth Blog Post


March 31, 2010, 7:12 pm

Chrome OS is seen as a primary challenger? In what world? If you would've said "Android", I could've agreed with you, but Chrome OS, common >_>

Apple does not need to retaliate to this, this is a total non-issue, of very little news-worthy importance.


March 31, 2010, 7:50 pm

@Soliber you're actually completely wrong - Chrome is seen as Google's long term OS since it wishes to move away from apps to Cloud based, platform neutral services - so it is actually huge news, but appreciate the contribution!


March 31, 2010, 8:40 pm

Does this mean flash on android?


March 31, 2010, 8:53 pm

In which case, you're talking incredibly long-term :-) We are a *long* way off, of having ubiquitous internet of sufficient quality and low cost, so an OS which needs an almost constant internet connection remains a mere fantasy for the foreseeable future.

But I find it funny that you seem to diss Apple for trying to push HTML5 to overtake Flash, which doesn't seem to be nearly as long-term and fantasy-like as Chrome OS becoming a primary challenger to just about anything :-)

Youtube itself is moving away from Flash, towards HTML5, and other parties are following suit. This is just a move of Google to make that dying ol' dino called Flash a little more easy to live with.


March 31, 2010, 9:44 pm

I'm starting to move away from apps where I can too. A well designed mobile site really can remove the need to have a separate app for everything. Saying that a lot of mobile sites still have a long way to go.


March 31, 2010, 9:48 pm

@Soliber - the problem is you seem to think HTML5 is ready when in reality is doesn't even have a common standard or agreed codec for displaying multimedia content. This will likely take a couple of years to sort out. In its current iteration HTML5 also requires MORE cpu resources than Flash to run.

I agree in the long term HTML5 should prove the better solution and going to an open standard is far better, but right now 80%+ of the Web's content is in Flash and it will take at least as long for that to change (5+ years) as it will for Cloud computing to be viable on a wide scale.

@piesforyou - no, Android does use a webkit based browser but it is not Chrome - that said, most new Android handsets are sporting Flash 10.1 so Flash content already works on them.


March 31, 2010, 10:30 pm

No, I know it's not ready, I haven't been able to get the damn Youtube beta to run properly :-p

I have a feeling Flash just needs a complete overhaul... I really got annoyed when Adobe went and said that they couldn't do complete hardware acceleration, because Apple doesn't give them the API's for that, which is plain bullocks. They could go the OpenCL route, or just make a Cocoa implementation, like they did with Photoshop. Seems to me they just don't put enough of an effort in to do a decent job, be it on PC or Mac...


March 31, 2010, 10:33 pm

@Soliber - I think it's more the fact that the two companies detest one another ;)


March 31, 2010, 11:14 pm

Brand affinity can sometimes be quite a dangerous delusion. Especially if it lulls you into thinking that you can also advise the object of your obsession. My new bunny Solinger exemplifies this phenomenon quite vividly with his/her advise to Apple over it's next course of action.

Google is quite wise to incorporate a mature and well established format such as Flash into it's upcoming operating system and shun it's far less capable rival.


April 1, 2010, 3:30 am

@ffrankmccaffery - What "far less capable rival" are you talking about? As far as I know Google isn't shunning anything.

Gareth Burleigh

April 1, 2010, 11:48 am

Perhaps the reason Flash is the most used plugin on the web is because its so invasive. I dont choose to look at flash based content its littered all around the content Im trying to view. While typing this Click to flash is blocking 5 flash based ads.

Im not trying to weigh in on the HTML5/Flash debate Im just saying flash usage is like saying computers use electricity


April 1, 2010, 7:28 pm

I just can't see Google Chrome OS becoming an alternative option for Windows users who just want to access the internet, if they discover how lousy Flash performance is on non-Windows platforms. Flash is everywhere and Flash blockers are of most value to Mac and Linux users. So I'm not sure the emphasis is really about outdoing Apple rather than just being pragmatic.

Google would be shooting themselves in the foot if they didn't sort this out. Likewise it's in Adobe's interests too given the threat of Silverlight (with impending momentum from Windows Phone 7) and Apple's steadfast refusal to support/allow it on the iPad and iPhone.


April 1, 2010, 10:32 pm

@Helmore: HTML5 - which is more resource intensive. And Google is shunning HTML5 in this instance. You should read a bit more attentively.


April 2, 2010, 11:43 am


HTML5 is google's strategic direction for supporting rich web apps - they aren't shunning it at all - they are being pragmatic and supporting the web's other rich application delivery platform. We have the best of both worlds going forward - what a refreshing outlook :)


April 2, 2010, 2:39 pm

Another one who's too lazy to read. @Castalan: Re-read my earlier post and look out for the words 'in this instance'.


April 2, 2010, 6:39 pm


"And Google is shunning HTML5 in this instance."

Seems fairly straightforward from the above quote - you stated they are shunning HTML5 and they clearly aren't - that's the post I'm responding to.

If you expect me to read every comment you make that's not going to happen - I assume the last comment you make is your current position - that's not too hard to understand is it ?


April 3, 2010, 4:10 pm

@Castalan: Do you really prefer having things broken down for you. Like say how a mother would chop up a dinner into smaller chewable pieces for her child?

Now answer me this. Are Google shunning HTML5 in favour of Flash in their upcoming Chrome OS?

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