Google slashes Flash from Search – surely it’s dead this time?

Halloween is upon us and, if there’s one piece of software that reminds us of perhaps the season’s most notorious villain, it’s Adobe Flash.

We’ve been planning the funeral of the unloved format, which once powered the majority of videos, games and advertisements across the web, for years, but just like Michael Myers, Flash just won’t die.

Despite support for the insecure Flash format being dropped by Chrome and the other major browsers, there’s still plenty of unpleasant Flash content lurking on the web, yet to be updated to HTML5.

Google has now taken the latest step to killing-off the format by revealing its Search engine will cease indexing Flash content or Shockwave Flash files in the coming weeks.

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That means, if your page contains those elements, it’s not going to be discoverable by the world’s most important search engine. As such, Google is urging all webmasters to update their Flash ads to the HTML5 format and is providing instructions helping them to do so. Google says most web users will not be affected by the change (via ZDnet).

Flash has been on borrowed time since the launch of the original iPhone, more than a decade ago, when Apple announced it would not be supporting the format. Then-CEO Steve Jobs wrote a scathing indictment explaining why too.

Adobe has said that the end of its support for Flash is still over a year away, set for 2020. Back in 2017, the company announced: “Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.”

While that looks set to be the true, final nail in the coffin for Flash, we wouldn’t be sure it’s the final chapter in the saga. If Halloween has taught us anything, there’s always room for another sequel.

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