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Google has been working with Adobe to make Flash content more power-efficient in Chrome. In March, a setting was introduced to play less Flash content on the page, but it wasn’t turned on by default, and in June, the option was enabled in the browser’s beta channel. Google also hinted that all users would get the feature as soon as next month, and today the company confirmed it would start rolling it out on September 1.
Here’s how the feature works. Chrome will automatically pause Flash content that isn’t “central to the webpage” while keeping central content playing without interruption. For example, the video you’re trying to watch will be unaffected while animations on the side will be paused. If Chrome pauses something you’re interested in, you can resume playback by just clicking on it.
If this sounds like a feature you want to start using now, you can turn it on before next week. Open Chrome’s menu, click on Settings, choose “Show advanced settings,” scroll down to the “Privacy” section, and hit the “Content settings” button. In the Plugins section, change “Run all plugin content (recommended): Chrome will run all plugins” to “Detect and run important plugin content: Chrome will run the main plugin content on websites.”
Over the last few months, Google has admitted the feature would pause a lot of plugin content, including “many Flash ads.” The goal, according to the company, is to increase page-load speed and reduce power consumption, though it hasn’t shared any hard data on what kind of improvements users can expect.
While the majority of Google’s revenue depends on ads, and many are still delivered in Flash, this move is part of a broader effort to ditch the insecure and slow technology. In January, YouTube ditched Flash for HTML5 by default, and in February, Google started automatically converting Flash ads to HTML5. Now it’s Chrome turn to join the party.
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