Now here is something interesting I noticed today.
When downloading the latest stable version of the Adobe Flash Player, a checkbox appeared, offering me to install Google Chrome as well.
However, if you hit F5 several times, it will suggest you a different kind of software, making us wonder, how much such promotion cost for the Google (if any?).
I am going back to school in the fall and I contacted the school to see which laptop or tablet I should be using. They replied I would need the Adobe Flash Player to run the lectures. While I love Apple, I understand the newest Apple laptops and the iPad do not support Flash. Is this correct? If so, what should I buy?
There’s a lot of confusion about this, so here’s the story. Apple’s Mac laptops and desktops do indeed run the Adobe Flash Player, and thus Flash videos and websites, just like Windows PCs. While they no longer ship with the Flash software pre-installed, you can quickly and easily download and install it free of charge. Once you do, Flash videos and websites will work on your Mac.
By contrast, the iPad won’t accept the Flash Player in its built-in browser and thus cannot run Flash videos or websites. There are some third-party browsers for Apple’s tablet, such as Skyfire and Puffin, that do run Flash on Web pages, albeit clumsily at times. The latter are available in the iPad app store. If you want a tablet that runs Flash natively, you could buy one of the newer Android models, or the HP TouchPad, but be aware that some Flash videos and websites don’t run properly on the current generation of Flash-enabled tablets.
The tablet-computer race is heating up. The latest entrant, Acer Inc.’s Iconia Tab A500, is the first to offer compelling competition to Apple’s dominant iPad in one crucial area: price.
The Iconia Tab has been keenly anticipated, if only because Acer, a Taiwanese company that made its mark by offering sharp but inexpensive laptops and netbooks, is the world’s second-largest PC maker after Hewlett-Packard Co. The Iconia Tab is Acer’s first to run Google’s Android operating system, and joins an increasingly crowded tablet field that features the PlayBook by Research in Motion Ltd., Motorola Inc.’s Xoom, LG Electronics Inc.’s G-Slate and Apple’s own iPad2, which went on sale in March.
A WiFi-only version of the Iconia Tab went on sale on April 24 for $449.99. A new model that works on AT&T Inc.’s 4G wireless network is slated for release this summer for an as-yet-undisclosed price.
For all the angst about the lack of Flash on Apple’s iPads and iPhones, most of the discussion seems to center around video. But a bigger impact by far is on display advertising, which tends to be done mostly in Flash. Adobe needs non-Flash alternatives for tablets and smartphones, particularly for people who design display ads.
Today, Adobe announced that it is integrating Medialets’ mobile ad platform into its own creative suite. Designers will be able to insert Medialets ads into InDesign layouts and then serve them on mobile apps. The reason this is notable is that Medialets essentially will become the de facto plug-in mobile ad server for Adobe. Medialets’ technology works with iOS devices and will also work with Flash in Adobe AIR apps. It powers the ads in The Daily iPad app, for example, a position it won over Apple’s own iAds.
I don't often need to open a PDF file, and when I do it's typically something I'm looking at in my Web browser. Since I'm using Google Chrome, the built-in PDF viewer is what I use 90% of the time. I do, however, get the odd email at my day job (where we don't use webmail) with a PDF attachment I need to read.
So I thought, "why not open those in Chrome, too?" It's easy enough to set up. Here's how to do it.
First, locate your Google Chrome executable. The easiest way to do this is to right-click your Chrome shortcut and choose properties from the menu. In the box labeled target, you'll see the complete path to Chrome.exe. Highlight that text and copy it to your clipboard.
In a strong, head-held-high missive, Adobe has detailed a new initiative to bring Flash local storage clearing to Web browser UIs. The new API, NPAPI ClearSiteData will let Firefox and Chrome users clear Flash's Local Shared Objects, or 'Flash cookies,' in the same way that you currently clear cookies and temporary Internet files.
LSOs are very commonly used throughout the Web, but unlike conventional cookies they're a little harder to delete. A lot of websites use them to track you across the Web, but they're also used by sites like YouTube to store your video preferences.
In the world of online video, there is a battle brewing over the next dominant standard for online video, especially on HTML5 Web pages. Today, Google took the gloves off and declared that it will soon stop supporting the H.264 video codec in its Chrome browser. Instead, it will only support open-source technologies such as its own WebM initiative (with its VP8 codec) and the open-source Theora video codec, which is used by Firefox.
You could see this a mile away. Google announced the WebM project last May, along with other partners Mozilla and Opera (Apple, which relies on H.264 in its mission to squash Flash, was conspicuously absent). The H.264 codec is owned by the MPEG-LA consortium, and may in the future require a license. Although the consortium was pressured into promising that H.264 streaming would be free forever that is only for non-commercial Internet video.
In a post today on the Chromium blog, product manager Mike Jazayeri gives teh following explanation for why Chrome will no longer support H.264:
We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.
But how can Google justify dropping support for H.264, but not Flash (which also uses H.264 for video)? Simple, Adobe is also one of the WebM partners and will support WebM technologies inside Flash. Yup, Flash is siding with Google on this one. So the battle lines here are really between Google and Apple, which is still sticking with H.264 (the non-Flash variety). Just when it looked like H.264 was winning too.
Although we've already seen Flash in action on Chrome OS, Adobe has come out and officially announced Flash Player for Google's newest operating system and deemed it a "work in progress." If you're expecting the kind of desktop performance you get with the latest hardware accelerated builds of Flash Player, I'm afraid you're going to be a little disappointed -- video playback performance certainly seems a little lacking. However, Adobe is committed to improving it, as "video performance in particular is the primary area for improvement," with Adobe working directly with Google engineers in an effort to enable video acceleration.
Like the Chrome browser, Adobe's directly integrating Flash into Chrome OS, meaning that Flash will auto-update and should, combined with the robustness of the underlying Linux kernel, make Chrome OS a very secure computing platform indeed.
As a quick follow-up article to the Adobe Flash 10.2 beta announcement, we thought we'd show you how to disable Google Chrome's built-in Flash plug-in so that you can use a pre-release build like the 10.2 beta. It's a quick and simple process, but please remember that once you've disabled Chrome's built-in Flash you won't get the benefit of Chrome's internal Flash updates.
1. Download the Flash plug-in that you'd like to use with Chrome (10.2 can be found here).
2. Fire up Chrome and type about:plugins into the address bar; hit enter.
3. Click on Details in the top right of the window to expand the plug-in details.
4. Find the Flash plug-in that's listed as being in the Chrome directory and hit Disable (shown above).
5. Check which version of Flash you have by heading here.
That's it -- now you can jump on over to Adobe's Stage Video demo and watch as your CPU basically idles as you play HD video. If you want to reverse the procedure, just re-enable Chrome's built-in Flash plug-in and it'll take priority over the pre-release version.
Sandboxing in Chrome is currently only available for Windows, where it's particularly important for the relatively insecure Windows XP, and is rolling out to all Chrome Dev installations on Windows automatically. If you have a particular aversion to sandboxing your Flash experience, you can easily disable it with the flag --disable-flash-sandbox. For those of you who are running the beta or stable release of Chrome, but want to try out the developer version with Flash sandboxing for Windows, then head on over to Chromium.org and grab yourself the 'Dev channel' and install it over the top of your current Chrome version.
Adobe Flash remains a popular attack vector for malware authors. In addition to a seemingly never-ending supply of security flaws, bad guys know that people who use Flash often ignore the updater's prompts. That leaves users in an even more tenuous position, since they're still vulnerable to attacks Adobe has already patched.
That's one big advantage to Google Chrome's internal Flash plug-in. Since updates are delivered silently in the background to users, the internal plug-in is always up-to-date. This keeps everyone as safe as possible, but Chrome offers one more way to protect its users: sandboxing. By running unfamiliar Web code in its isolated sandbox, Chrome can execute that code in a safe environment -- where it can't harm your operating system.
Back when Google first announced internal Flash, one of their stated goals was "to further protect users by extending Chrome's 'sandbox' to web pages with Flash content." According to revision 66022, Google is making good on their promise. Sandboxed Flash is now supported in the Chromium source code, and should be available to Windows users of Canary and Chrome Dev very soon. A quick look through the source code seems to indicate that Chrome can sandbox not only its own internal Flash plug-in, but also the traditional Adobe version -- as long as it's version 10.1.103.19 or better.
This is great news for Chrome users. It was already an incredibly difficult browser to exploit, and sandboxing Flash will add another layer of armor to its defenses.
Yesterday, Google delivered a major update to Chrome Beta users, bumping the version to 8.0.552.28. The changelog for this release is a doozy, and runs down loads of security updates, UI tweaks, and plumbing for features which are still coming soon (like Cloud Print and password sync).
You'll also find plenty of new experimental features on the Chrome Beta about:flags page. The big addition, however, is the arrival of the built-in PDF viewer. Chrome's viewer currently offers a major advantage over Adobe Reader when it comes to security -- sandboxing -- which helps prevent malicious PDFs from successfully attacking your computer.
Dev channel users should also have an update ready this morning -- which brings a new version of the internal Flash plug-in.
When Google began working on a built-in Flash plug-in for Chrome, they cited a handful of key motivations. They wanted a more hassle-free web experience for end users, more modern alternative to the aging NPAPI architecture, better security, and an easier way to deliver updates.
According to the SecBrowsing blog, their update aspirations have been a smashing success.
The traditional Flash updater is easy enough to avoid -- I often work on end users systems and see the beleaguered Flash updater crying out for attention from the system tray. Sadly, its cries often go ignored. Chrome's internal updater, however, can't be ignored. When there's a update to the browser or an internal plug-in, by Odin's beard, you're going to get it!
Within just two days of the most recent Flash update, fewer than 30% of SecBrowsing visitors were running an out-of-date version. That's compared to 14 days with the previous release -- a substantial improvement.
No comparisons to other browsers are given, but I've got to think that Chrome users are well ahead of the curve here.
Ahh, the thrill of running bleeding-edge software! It's not for the feint of heart, to be sure. Heck, it's not even for someone who has a perfectly strong heart but doesn't do well with watching features appear and disappear on a regular basis.
Take Chrome's nifty internal PDF plug-in. Just a few days ago, Google dropped the need for a command line switch to activate it, enabling it by default for users of the dev channel build. Today, however, another update was pushed and the plug-in has once again been switched off.
You can still enable the plug-in if you wish -- just visit chrome://plugins and click enable underneath the Chrome PDF Viewer.
It's likely that the Chrome team is just ironing out a few kinks prior to pushing the plug-in to the beta channel. With Chrome's accelerated release schedule, it probably won't be long before the PDF viewer joins the internal Flash plug-in on Chrome installs everywhere.
Yesterday's dev channel update has flipped the switch, however, and the internal PDF viewer is now enabled by default. Interestingly, Google's official release post states a known issue where the PDF plug-in doesn't load on Linux -- yet it does on my Chromium OS install. If you happen to be running Chrome dev on Linux, let us know if the plug-in is working for you!
Apart from the plug-in change, it looks as though another big chunk of Chrome's UI will soon be moved to a browser tab. Just as they did with the bookmark manager did, Google is getting ready to move Chrome's options (or preferences) to a tab. Take the jump to see what it looks like so far!
Also hidden behind a command-line switch is the Chrome Web Store shortcut. If you have the --enable-apps flag appended to your shortcut, you may notice this on your new tab page:
In our most recent stable release of Google Chrome, we talked about beta-testing Adobe Flash Player integration into Chrome. We're now happy to enable this integration by default in the stable channel of Chrome. To read more about this integration, check out the Chromium blog.
In testing Flash Player integration into Chrome, the Chrome team admittedly spent many, many fun hours with a few of our favorite Flash-based indie games. So as a side project, we teamed up with a few creative folks to build Chrome FastBall, a Flash-based game built on top of the YouTube platform.
On Thursday evening, Google released Chrome 5.0.375.86 to the Stable channel on Linux, Mac, and Windows, with a fix for a number of security issues. More importantly, the integrated Flash Player has now been enabled by default.
As Stephen Shankland over at CNET points out, built-in Flash was previously only available in the developer and beta releases of the speedy WebKit-based browser, and the release to the Stable channel means the integrated plug-in is now available in its mainstream version.
Neither internal Flash or internal PDF rely upon the venerable old NPAPI system. The hope is that this new architecture will provide a more modern, secure way for browsers and plug-ins to interact. PDFs you view with the internal plug-in will also be safely tucked away in Chrome's sandbox, preventing any malicious activity from damaging your operating system.
If you're running the dev channel, here's what you have to do to turn on the internal PDF viewer:
- enter chrome:plugins in your Omnibar
- scroll down to the entry for Chrome PDF Viewer
- click the enable link, and you're good to go.
As the official blog post mentions, it's a bit limited in terms of functionality at this point. No zoom options or navigation controls are presented yet, so you'll have to page down or scroll down to read. You can, however, search the text using control + F as you would on a web page.
My advice: give it a try, but stick to using the Google Docs Viewer for now.
Whether you're on Team Apple or Team Adobe in the whole Flash vs. HTML5 brouhaha, you really can't dispute just how nice some of the new HTML5 and CSS3 features are, and while Microsoft was quick to throw a demo page up to tout IE9's capabilities, Apple for some reason waited until yesterday to post one for Safari.