Technology 2 min read

Google to Stop Indexing Flash Content in Search

Following Adobe's announcement that it will stop supporting Flash next year, Google confirmed that it would no longer index the flash content of webpages.

Adobe Flash logo | Shutterstock

Adobe Flash logo | Shutterstock

Google recently announced in a blog post that it would stop indexing Flash content in Search.

In the early days of the internet, we all loved Flash, and that’s understandable. Not only did it bring interactive elements to an otherwise dull page, but we also got rich animations, and media too.

As a result, Adobe‘s Flash became one of the most widely used browser plugins on the internet. At the time, you couldn’t even watch YouTube or Facebook videos without Flash.

But, it all changed soon.

The Slow Demise of Flash

In 2010, Steve Jobs wrote a scathing open letter explaining why he wouldn’t let Apple products near Adobe Flash. It took almost ten years, but other tech companies soon followed suit.

Big-name browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Chrome, and Firefox 69 started disabling Flash by default. Then seven years after Jobs’s letter,  Adobe finally announced that it would stop supporting Flash by 2020.

So, it wasn’t surprising when Google announced that it would stop indexing Flash content. That means the search engine will ignore webpages with such content altogether.

Engineering manager at Google, Dong-Hwi Lee wrote in a blog post:

“Google Search will stop supporting Flash later this year. In Web pages that contain Flash content, Google Search will ignore the Flash content. Google Search will stop indexing standalone SWF files.”

Why Google Will No Longer Index Flash Content?

Adobe launched Flash in 1996, a year before Google’s arrival.

However, the search engine‘s bot did not start crawling Flash files until 2008, according to reports. So, webpages that used animations, games, and other media could show up on the search engine.

As useful as Flash was, it had always raised security concerns.

While Adobe tried to keep up with patching zero-day exploits, the tech giant didn’t catch critical vulnerabilities fast enough. As a result, the multimedia platform poses a constant risk to web users.

Also, HTML5 proved to be a more viable alternative. With developers’ focus on the convenient, safer, more powerful HTML5, Flash’s necessity, and presence dwindled.

According to Google, the change will not affect most websites and users. However, if your page still features Flash content, the search engine recommends that switching to HTML5.

Flash, you inspired the web. Now, there are web standards like HTML5 to continue your legacy,” Lee concluded.

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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