Google’s been making changes to the way in which Chrome handles and prioritises content on websites throughout 2016, and by the start of next year, all Flash content will need to be enabled manually on new sites.
While it was right back at the start of the year that Google said it was going to make changes to the way it displays Flash content, the switch to Chrome (version 55) on the general release channel is the first time that the intended features have made it into a stable build of the browser. Google says that around 50 percent of people using its Chrome 56 beta browser already have the Flash blocking feature.
However, now one percent of people using the general release version also have it too. In a nutshell, what that means is that if you visit a site you haven’t been to before and it has Flash content, you’ll have to select to enable it manually if you want to see it.
The plan is to roll it out gradually over the next couple of months with the aim of fully removing default support for Flash for all users by February 2017, which is when Chrome 56 is due to leap from the beta to the stable release channel.
Initially, it probably won’t interupt your browsing experience too much, Google says. But by October next year, the default will be to ask the user whether they want to run embedded Flash content on any site, each time you visit.
Of course, while that might be a little annoying for a few limited cases where a switch to HTML5 hasn’t yet been made, it’s a change that benefits everyone. Flash is routinely used as a source of vulnerabilities that lets hackers gain access to sensitive data and remotely execute code on a victim’s machine. By disabling default support, the efficacy of those attacks is going to fall to near zero.
Related: Google Chrome hammers another nail in Flash’s coffin
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