Mozilla Firefox to Abandon Flash

firefox on androidFollowing the example of Googles Chrome browser, Mozilla Firefox is set to dramatically scale back its use of the Flash video player, blocking content it deems “not essential to the user experience” from August onwards.

Firefox will instead default to HTML5 for video, online animations, games and other rich media, as use of Flash continues to decline across the web. In February of this year, Google announced it would be banning Flash ads from its AdWords and DoubleClick servers.

While Flash was one of the building blocks of early rich media and video ads and content on the internet, there have been growing concerns over the plug-ins security, stability and size as video content grows more prevalent online.

“Mozilla and the web as a whole have been taking steps to reduce the need for Flash content in everyday browsing,” said a Mozilla spokesperson in a blog post announcing the change. “Over the past few years, Firefox has implemented Web APIs to replace functionality that was formerly provided only by plugins. This includes audio/video playback and streaming capabilities, clipboard integrations, fast 2D and 3D graphics, WebSocket networking, and microphone/camera access.”

Mozilla also noted that as websites and other services have switched from Flash to other web technologies, the plug-in crash rate in Firefox has dropped significantly, most notably when YouTube switched to HTML5 format in April 2015.

Mozillas blocking strategy is expected to reduce Flash crashes and hangs by up to 10 per cent. Mozilla has created a list of Flash content that will be blocked, all of which can be replaced with HTML5 content, and will expand the list over time.

The company also plans to require click-to-activate approval from users for Flash plug-ins on websites from 2017 onwards, and suggested that websites that currently use Flash or Silverlight for videos or games should adopt HTML5 as soon as possible.

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