Who Killed Flash?


-By John Yanny

If you are reading this, it means that Flash is dead. Well, dying.

On Tuesday, Google Chrome essentially closed the curtain on the Adobe platform that has driven such a huge proportion of online ads, videos and games since 1997. The world’s most-used browser will now auto-pause all Flash Adwords banners, so if you want to see (or hear) the banner or video you’ll have to click on it. Twice. Manually. In this uber-competitive digital environment, that’s as good as not being there at all.

The primary reason, according to Google, is that Flash increases page load speeds, which burns through device batteries faster. Or as Wired diplomatically put it: “Flash is a bloated, insecure battery hog, and it deserves to die”. Chrome’s not the first to turn against Flash, either: last month Firefox blocked it (temporarily) over security concerns, Amazon no longer accept Flash ads across its network, and Facebook has asked browsers to stop supporting it altogether. Apple has never allowed Flash on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, as per a Steve Jobs decree.

In response, Australia’s Interactive Advertising Bureau has announced new ad specifications designed to ease the industry transition to the newer technology on the block: HTML5.

In addition to being suddenly far more compatible than its rival, HTML5 is a very different beast. Where Flash ads are large, bulky files that require a player and were frequently slow to react, HTML5 ads are actually tiny websites in of themselves. This means they’re faster, smoother, more interactive, highly responsive, touchscreen-friendly, and thankfully, less prone to crashing.

We’ve been working with – and loving – HTML5 at Sphere for a while now, and we’re still discovering how the technology can open up new creative avenues every day. The king is dead! Long live HTML5!


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