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Microsoft Edge joins Chrome and Firefox in auto-blocking nasty Flash ads

Microsoft has plunged another nail into the coffin of Adobe Flash (and nasty ads in general) with a new blocking feature in its Edge web browser.

The Windows 10 default browser will, as part of this year’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update, ‘auto pause content that is not central to the web page’. In other words, content found around the edge of web pages such as ads and auto-playing Flash-based videos.

Related: 5 things you need to know about the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Announced in an Edge Dev Blog post, the new function will halt processor and battery-hogging animations before they get a chance to begin. You’ll still be able to play this content if, for some reason, animated ‘hot singles in your area’ notifications float your boat, but you’ll have to do this yourself.

Edge isn’t the first browser to do this; Mozilla Firefox lead the charge in 2015 by doing the same, auto-blocking all Flash-based content. Google Chrome followed soon after, although its solution didn’t go as far as blocking the ads and instead took a similar approach to what Edge is doing now.

Since then, there’s been a marked decline in the number of ads and video players using Flash, with many companies rushing out more efficient HTML5-based content instead.
It’s safe to say that this move from Edge probably won’t push advertisers any harder than they were already going to reduce the number of ads based on Flash, since Edge is still in the minority as far as web browsers go, and is still overshadowed by its granddaddy, Internet Explorer.

This isn’t the end, either, the blog post states that Edge will eventually allow users to control the presence of Flash elsewhere on the page, too, including content found in the body text of a given web page.

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Adobe Flash is in a state of managed decline, for advertising at least, and this announcement comes just a day after Adobe warned of a critical vulnerability in the software that could allow Windows, OS X and Chrome OS to be hijacked remotely after a Flash crash. Speaking of which, you should definitely update Flash on your PC. Do it now.

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