Steve Jobs has been remarkably talkative of late. Most recently, he posted Thoughts on Flash and before that has randomly (yet tersely) replied to seemingly random emails.
Jobs actually makes some interesting points in this post but there is something hysterically funny about Apple criticizing Flash for not being “open” (as Bart would say, the ironing is delicious) but once you get past that, comments about video decoding in software, battery life, etc all fit in Jobs’ famous unwavering commitment to his product vision. The battery performance of the iPad and Macbooks are almost legendary.
Lack of Flash has become a rallying cry for iphone malcontents and Android proponents of late. Barely a day goes by that Buzz Out Loud, particularly for Molly Wood and Jason Howell. Such people typically praise Google’s openness with its adoption of Flash.
Last month, Google announced a partnership with Adobe, one effect of which is that Flash will be bundled with Chrome (and later Chrome OS).
This got me thinking. I don’t like Flash. I don’t want it in my browser. Flash tends to be abused (by advertisers). Some have used Flash to restore deleted tracking cookies, which is a huge privacy (even security) concern.
I have previously tried to remove Flash from Chrome (my preferred browser). You can remove it but then every page you go to tells you you’re missing necessary plug-ins and asks if you want to install them. Is there an option to disable this message/request? No.
As of Chrome 3 extensions have come to the rescue and Flashblock is a must-have. Still, this solution is not completely satisfactory. Some Web sites will put extra Flash widgets (sometimes as small as a pixel) to defeat Flash blockers. Click on one of these regions/pixels and you’ve just run some Flash you probably didn’t mean to run.
I can understand the criticisms of Apple’s position even though I personally want to see Flash die a horribly fiery death. But Google isn’t giving me a choice either. Instead of allowing me to have Flash if I wish, it’s forcing me to have Flash whether I like it or not (and, trust me, I don’t).
Now that Youtube has HTML5 video, I don’t need Flash for anything. Why won’t Google give me that choice?