In a Google Groups thread named “Intent to implement: HTML5 by Default,” the Google developers announced initial plans to implement a new feature in the Chromium core that will disable the playback of Flash content by default, and use HTML5 instead, if available.
The feature is scheduled to ship with Chromium builds in Q4 2016, according to the current timeline.
“If a site offers an HTML5 experience, this change will make that the primary experience,” Anthony LaForge, Technical Program Manager at Google. “We will continue to ship Flash Player with Chrome, and if a site truly requires Flash, a prompt will appear at the top of the page when the user first visits that site, giving them the option of allowing it to run for that site.”
The Chromium team will basically implement a permanent “Ask to activate” feature for all websites running Flash content, similar to what Firefox has been optionally providing its users for some time now.
“This change reflects the maturity of HTML5 and its ability to deliver an excellent user experience,” LaForge also noted. “While Flash historically has been critical for rich media on the web, today in many cases HTML5 provides a more integrated media experience with faster load times and lower power consumption.”
A whitelist will allow default Flash playback for ten major sites
To avoid “overprompting,” a whitelist will allow ten major websites to continue to show Flash content by default without pestering users with “Allow domain.com to run Flash Player” prompts. The whitelist will be in effect one year only.
The list includes the domains of YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, VK, Live, Yandex, OK.ru, Twitch, Amazon, and Mail.ru, the biggest sites running Flash content today.
Until Adobe announces that it will stop providing Flash updates, there will be no “Flash is dead” moment. Until then, we can enjoy small moments like these, when news surface about future browser settings that will disable the playback of Flash playback by default.
Below are two mockups depicting how Google engineers currently envision Chrome’s upcoming settings section, and how the Flash prompt will look like.