Google is continuing Chrome’s slow march toward Flash's demise by changing how the plugin is enabled in its latest browser update, Chrome 76.
Given how widely used Flash was in the earlier days of the internet, browsers (and Adobe itself) cutting support for the plugin risks essentially eliminating the older games and web applications it powered. Despite ample notice, not all developers have the ability or resources to preserve older projects before the plug is officially pulled in 2020.
The update went live earlier this week and, as the new version quietly disables Flash by default until users manually enable it in the browser's settings. Following that, Chrome users will need to manually allow Flash each and every time they visit a webpage that uses the plugin.
Before this latest update, Chrome would remember pages where someone had opted to enable Flash and wouldn’t prompt them again after that initial choice.
The slight change is part of a larger, industry-wide effort to ready for Flash's official discontinuation in 2020, one that comes after years and years of security issues led the plugin to seemingly become more trouble than it is worth.
Adobe announced plans to end support for the once prolific plugin back in 2020, and the companies behind browsers like Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Safari have since taken steps to back away from Flash support as well. For Google, the current plan is to end support somewhere around Chrome 87 in December 2020.