March 30, 2010

Adobe & Google working to improve Flash/browser integration

Great news: Better performance, better security, and tighter integration are coming to Web plug-ins & browsers.

According to the Google team building the Chrome browser & Chrome OS, “[W]e are working with Adobe, Mozilla and the broader community to help define the next generation browser plug-in API.” As Flash Player engineering director Paul Betlem explains, the new API specification will offer some distinct benefits over the current technology available:

  • The API will be operating system and browser-neutral, minimizing the chance of inconsistent behavior across platforms.
  • The new API is being designed with the flexibility to allow plug-ins to more tightly integrate with host browsers.
  • The new plug-in API will provide performance benefits since the host browser will be able to directly share more information about its current state.
  • The tighter integration provided by the API can allow for a more secure browsing experience as it will be easier to unify security models and collaborate on security techniques, such as sandboxing.

Google engineering VP Linus Upson says, “Users will automatically receive updates related to Flash Player using Google Chrome’s auto-update mechanism. This eliminates the need to manually download separate updates and reduces the security risk of using outdated versions.” Developers can already download the Chrome developer channel version with Flash Player built in. Going forward, Google will be bundling Flash Player in Chrome so users will always have the most current release of Flash Player.

Posted by John Nack at 2:33 PM on March 30, 2010


  • A Wedlake — 5:31 PM on March 30, 2010

    Another day, another format war. I think it’s great that Google is partnering with Adobe. I guess I wish Apple did too. But just like any game of Risk, eventually friendly countries turn on each other. In this case it will probably happen when Adobe announces that they are building their own browser. :-)

  • Niklas — 5:36 PM on March 30, 2010

    Apple is already distributing updated Flash Player plugins via Software Update for Mac OS X. Due to Apple seldom feel the need to hurry to push updates to users this might mean that sometimes Chrome users will get an updated version a week or so before the rest of the Mac community. If Adobe has a similar partnership with Microsoft I do not know…

  • David Wilhelm — 6:13 PM on March 30, 2010

    That’s great! Hopefully the new plugin API will improve on ExternalInterface performance, as well as the FlashPlayer performance generally. I wish more browser vendors just included Flash – With the option to uninstall, of course – , as it always an annoyance to install for the first time, and can be an ordeal on Linux.

  • Ben Hansen — 8:17 PM on March 30, 2010

    what about index-ability? solve that one and now you’ve really got something
    [The companies have worked together on just that, though I don’t have the link handy just now. –J.]

  • Tim Baigent — 2:29 AM on March 31, 2010

    That is the first post I’ve read of yours John that smells rancidly of marketing hype.
    Please don’t make a habit of it. It’s usually good reading here.
    [I’m sorry you feel that way. My previous posts about Flash generated many thousands of visits & hundreds of comments. And here, instead of FUD, we have evidence of concrete progress–of the sort that many shrill partisans *claim* to want to see. To me that’s highly relevant & blogworthy. –J.]

  • Gregg — 4:44 AM on March 31, 2010

    Meh… It’s still just Chrome
    [It isn’t, actually: did you see the bit about working with Mozilla and others? It’s just that Google is taking the lead in lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness. –J.]

  • greg — 5:45 AM on March 31, 2010

    so far, chrome keeps crashing my windows xp (bsod) whenever i open several browsing tabs… so thank you google for “excellent” browser!

  • Glyn Dewis — 7:08 AM on March 31, 2010

    Shame but from a selfish point of view I wish the heading of this post could have been something like ‘Apple & Adobe working to improve flash/browser integration’.
    I’m an Apple fan through and through but not being able to view flash on an iPhone and now through the iPad is frustrating to say the least. I’m guessing the reason for this is something we’ll never really know but geez, would alot of people have smiles on their faces if it was sorted or what :o)
    John, apaologies for going ‘off subject’ but the heading got me all emotional…lol

  • Matthew Fabb — 7:53 AM on March 31, 2010

    From Google’s Webmaster Central blog:
    Improved Flash indexing
    Flash indexing with external resource loading
    Plus it’s my understanding that Google and Adobe continue to work together on this issue, so we might continue to see improvements down the road.

  • Ben Hansen — 8:45 AM on March 31, 2010

    RE: flash index-ability keep us posted thats huge!

  • Jim Pogozelski — 10:34 AM on March 31, 2010

    I guess this blog IS called John Nack On Adobe (I keep being surprised at non-Photoshop posts).

  • John Dowdell — 12:49 PM on March 31, 2010

    If by “indexability” you mean “I want search engines to see text in my SWF” then most search vendors have done so for years… try Google query “‘contrary evidence’ filetype:swf”, eg to confirm.
    (Announced a year or two ago was an improvement upon this, where Google spiders now use Ichabod, a “Headless Player”, to evaluate interactive calls and dynamic requests — indexing text in changing applications rather than just static documents.)

  • thinsoldier — 1:51 PM on March 31, 2010

    good news because google reader + google chrome + embedded flash video = annoying

  • Ken — 6:52 PM on March 31, 2010

    Flash got a plug from David Pogue at the New York Times today
    “But as any reader can tell you, the iPad can’t play Flash video. Apple has this thing against Flash, the Web’s most popular video format; says it’s buggy, it’s not secure and depletes the battery. Well, fine, but meanwhile, thousands of Web sites show up with empty white squares on the iPad — places where videos or animations are supposed to play.”
    It’s a good read on the new IPad
    Ken in KY

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