It’s actually used in so few instances for the average consumer nowadays that its passing really has no bearing on most. However, that doesn’t stop us from worrying about it. I mean, we grew up using Flash, so it’s understandable that so many Chromebook owners are curious about how their laptop experience will change in the new year. I’ve got to be honest here – it probably won’t.
Forbes says that millions of websites will be affected by the death of Flash, and while that’s true, it’s not really a bad thing in my opinion. Flash has been riddled with dangerous security vulnerabilities for many, many years, so perhaps this will force developers to get in gear and re-create their web experiences using a more secure, modern technology. As of 2017 when Google announced their roadmap for ridding Chrome of Flash, only 17 percent of sites worldwide used it and that number has certainly gone way down over the past three years. Of the roughly 2 billion websites that exist today, only about 10+ million were still using Flash as of April – that’s about 2.6% of the internet.
I understand that some companies just don’t have the manpower or the money to transform their entire infrastructure, but they’ve literally had years to make the change and just haven’t done so. Is it possible that many of these instances are due to the developer abandoning those sites and projects or do they just not care about the security of their users enough to do something about it? Meanwhile, Apple stopped relying on Flash a decade ago because Steve Jobs saw the writing on the wall. Mozilla and Google have also renounced support for it and as of Chrome 76, Flash content was blocked by default and it no longer shows in search results since October of this year.
So what does this mean for Chromebook users? Well, most of, if not all of the things you do on your device will be completely unaffected as we say goodbye to Adobe Flash. Outside of some Pogo games and this one time where a customer couldn’t apply to work at Charter Spectrum because the job application used Flash (seriously Spectrum?), I’ve rarely encountered an instance where someone needed it and had to return their Chromebook as a result.
Since then, pretty much all of these primary content providers have announced that they’ve moved on and that you can experience their offerings uninterrupted in HTML5. The average person literally won’t even notice a difference unless they’re visiting some obscure website that’s clinging to Flash and I would say to that person for their safety – run the other way!
All of this to say that this is not just “something a Chromebook can’t do” – it’s universal. Windows, macOS, Android, iOS – everyone will be affected by this change. As Flash places its other foot in the grave – which is a fitting end to 2020, I might add – those who still rely on its content will sadly have to find alternatives. If you’re in love with a specific Flash game, see if you can download it and try running it in the virtualized Ruffle Flash emulator or simply make the sacrifice and explore the millions of incredible games that the Google Play Store has to offer. It’s likely that whatever you are missing out on, the Play Store has an alternative that closely mirrors it and may even be better. Remaining open to new experiences can be scary, but it’s the spice of life!
Either way, the death of Adobe Flash is great news for the future of the internet and also for you and me. I just wanted to cover this topic today so that you all knew what to expect. Even though its implications are few or absent entirely for you and your Chromebook, I still feel like it’s an important conversation to have. If you are affected by this change, let us know in the comments below. Is there a vital web experience that you still use or rely on? Did we miss something huge? We’re looking forward to discussing it!