Under the auspice of saving battery life on laptops, Google just made good on their promise in June of this year to pause Flash elements on webpages loaded in their browser, Chrome. Though they don’t outright name what elements they are targeting *cough* advertising *cough*, as of September 1, Chrome will, by default, no longer autoplay Flash-based media on any page. If you want to punch that monkey to win a prize, you will have to click on the advertisement to get it to dance around on your screen. Now before you break out the champagne, this certainly doesn’t mean the end of web advertising by any stretch of the imagination – many of the ads you see are HTML5-based (including Google’s own AdWords platform) – but seeing as Chrome has 50% of the browser marketshare, it’s a safe bet that many, many advertisers will stop using Flash as a delivery mechanism, and given Flash’s long history of security weaknesses, this is a good thing.
What this means for you:
If you’re using Chrome as your main web browser, make sure it’s updated to the latest version, and start breathing the Flash-paused air. Firefox users have been enjoying this particular state for a little while now, as Mozilla put Flash in permanent time-out last month. If you are still using Internet Explorer (and many, many folks are required to because of various corporate applications) you can also experience a Flash-paused existence by following the steps outlined in this article.
Most importantly, if your website was designed with Flash elements (as many were up to about 2 years ago), it’s time to refresh your online presence to marginalize or eliminate the dependency on Flash. Its days are well and truly numbered.