Chrome 55 Flash settings

Chrome 55, released earlier this week, now blocks all Adobe Flash content by default, according to a plan set in motion by Google engineers earlier this year.

Back in May, Google's staff announced that starting with Q4 2016, Chrome would use HTML5 by default, while Flash would be turned off.

While some of the initial implementation details of the "HTML5 By Default" plan changed since May, Flash has been phased out in favor of HTML5 as the primary technology for playing multimedia content in Chrome.

Users have to allow Flash to run on non-HTML5 websites

Google's plan is to turn off Flash and use HTML5 for all sites. Where HTML5 isn't supported, Chrome will prompt users and ask them if they want to run Flash to view multimedia content.

The user's option would be remembered for subsequent visits, but there's also an option in the browser's settings section, under Settings > Content Settings > Flash > Manage Exceptions, where users can add the websites they want to allow Flash to run by default.

Chrome 55 Flash exceptions

Back in May, to avoid over-prompting users, Google said it would whitelist some of the Internet's biggest web portals where HTML5 isn't yet supported, or where not all content could be played back via HTML5 just yet. The list included YouTube, Flash, VK, and others.

This top 10 list has been dropped, in favor of a better system called Site Engagement (chrome://site-engagement) that gives scores to websites based on the number of visits and time spent on each site. The Site Engagement indicator takes a value from 1 to 100, and once it drops under 30, users will be prompted to enable Flash, regardless of the site's popularity and Alexa ranking.

Flash, who's been accused of being a resource hog and a security threat, will continue to ship with Chrome for the time being.

If you don't like Google's decision to go with HTML5 by default, there's an option in the chrome://flags section where you can revert to using Flash.

Chrome 55 flags

Google has been preparing for a life without Flash for many years now. YouTube has dropped Flash support a long time ago, while starting with January 2, 2017, Google will stop accepting Flash ads in its AdWords program.

Both Chrome and Firefox now block non-essential Flash content, such as analytics and user fingerprinting scripts. Google has been doing this since Chrome 53, and Mozilla since Firefox 48.