Twitch Transitioning From Flash to HTML5

Game streaming platform Twitch is finally switching from the notoriously unsafe Adobe Flash to HTML5, following in the steps of YouTube, which made the same change to its videos in January this year. The HTML5 rollout, which also includes JavaScript controls, will be gradual, and the underlying videos will still be powered by Flash for the time being. Twitch calls it “an important step to releasing the much-anticipated full HTML5 player” and that users should “stay tuned for more HTML5 updates.”

Luckily for Twitch, it is well placed to learn lessons from YouTube’s transition over the last six months, and longer since Google has been doing some stellar work with HTML5 since 2010. Five years ago, Google revealed a test version of the HTML5 video player it had been developing, a system that came to be used by YouTube this year. The prototype HTML5 player out-performed its Flash equivalent, and the code made it easier to embed videos.

Twitch’s transition to HTML5 shouldn’t take five years, like YouTube, but it is bound to be a slow and meticulous process. Short of taking the site down for a few months, which I’m sure owner Amazon would be loath to do, a creeping change should help Twitch move away from Flash as painlessly for its users as possible.

Thank you The Trigger for providing us with this information.

Flash Is Now Blocked Automatically by Firefox

Adobe has been receiving a lot of pressure lately to kill off Flash once and for all, but it looks like the company is not really ready to give up on its famous plugin. Consequently, the head of security over at Facebook publicly encouraged Adobe to make the call, and just a day later, Mozilla’s Mark Schmidt announced that Firefox would now block Flash automatically thanks to a recent update. The announcement was made via Twitter, and it was later followed by another Tweet that marked the block as temporary.

Flash used to be quite important back in the day, especially when it came to video playback. However, with Youtube moving to HTML 5 at the start of 2015, the plugin is becoming more and more obsolete and dangerous even. Hackers often use Flash to gain a foothold into users’ PC’s, and while Adobe states that it is doing its best to improve its security, we’ve not seen any impressive results so far. There’s even an entire movement called Occupy Flash that aims to remove the vulnerable plugin from the internet altogether.

As for Firefox users, they can always re-enable Flash should the need arise, but I don’t really see why they would want to.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Google Changes how Flash Ads Work in Chrome

Despite helping pay for web content, auto-playing Flash ads have become the bane of internet users. While third party plugins have long offered the ability to control Flash elements, Google is now baking in the ability to pause auto-playing Flash ads right into Chrome. Starting with the latest Chrome Beta build, pausing non-central plugin elements will become the default setting. Pausing auto-play ads is one thing but Chrome being able to determine which Flash elements are ads and which ones are the content makes the feature so much more useful.

In their blog post announcing the new feature, Google states that the main purpose of adding this ability into Chome is to help improve battery life. By reducing the number of flash elements being played, the processor has a lower workload, reducing power consumption and improving battery life. Flash has long been notorious for consuming processor cycles and being a performance hog so disabling unnecessary elements is sure to help not only battery life but those on older machines.

It’s important to note that it’s not clear how Chrome will determine which elements need to be paused. The feature also isn’t meant to block ads necessarily as a Flash ad that plays in the main video frame before the real video likely won’t be blocked. HTML 5 playable ads and other ads also won’t be blocked so this feature won’t be a replacement for ad-blockers. Nethertheless it’s interesting to see an advertising firm pushing out features that could reduce their ad revenue.