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Google Chrome to get support for Flash

Move criticised after Google initially backed HTML5

Google is preparing to include Adobe's Flash Player in its Chrome browser.

The move has raised some criticism from early commentators as to why Google is now pushing Flash when it has backed HTML5, a potential rival to Flash.

The Flash Player will be included in downloads of Chrome as soon as possible, according to the companies.

Initially, the process will beging with an integration of Chrome and Flash Player in the developer channel. Additionally, Adobe and Google are part of an effort to improve interaction between browsers and plugins.

Google and Adobe officials hailed the Flash Player effort.

"Moving forward, Google will be including Flash Player in Chrome so users will always have the most current release and a safer and more seamless experience," said Paul Betlem, senior director of Flash Player engineering at Adobe, in a blog.

"When users download Chrome, they will also receive the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. There will be no need to install Flash Player separately," said Linus Upson, vice president of engineering at Google, in a blog.

Users will automatically receive updates related to Flash Player using the Chrome auto-update mechanism. Also, Google plans to further protect users by extending the Chrome sandbox to web pages with Flash content.

Some web users posting comments attached to the Google blog post did not take kindly to Google cozying up to Adobe.

"The future of the web should be standards-based: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Not some old clunky proprietary plug-in," said commentator Anders Tornblad.

"Ugh. And here I thought we were all getting close(ish) to completely ditching Flash and you guys decide to bundle Flash with Chrome. What the hell happened to open standards," said another web user.

While another asked: "Shouldn't you be concentrating on enhancing HTML5 rather than meshing the browser with proprietary plug-ins".

Others, including a commentator identified as Flash developer Joel Fiser, defended the alliance.

"Google correctly recognises the Flash plug-in as one of the main engines that drive innovation on the web," Fiser said.

"So - rather than accede to Apple's ridiculous 'solution' of trying to kill an excellent - but needs improvement - technology, Google is trying to make it better."

Apple has frowned up on Flash lately, keeping it off of its iPhone platform.

Adobe also is working with Google, Mozilla and others on an API to provide a better way for browsers and plug-ins to interact.

"While the current NPAPI has served the industry well, it lacks the flexibility and power to support the pace of innovation we see ahead. We expect that the new API specification will offer some distinct benefits over the current technology available," Betlem said.

The API will be OS- and browser-neutral to minimise the chance of inconsistent behavior across platforms. It also will offer performance benefits and enable tighter integration with host browsers, Betlem said.

Google has participated in the Adobe-led Open Screen Project, which is an effort to provide a Flash-based runtime environment for rich content across different devices.

See also: Google patches 11 flaws in Chrome


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