If you’ve used the internet at any point in time over the past decade, chances are you’ve encountered flash. Flash was originally a creation of Jonathon Gay, developed to edit graphics and render animations.
This was in the mid 1990’s and by the turn of the century Flash was being used for interactive web pages and also to play multimedia content. Flash was relied upon so heavily that in 2005, Adobe purchased Macromedia and made Flash part of it’s Creative Suite.
As of today, Google and Mozilla have blocked flash on their respective browsers, citing security vulnerabilities as the motivation behind the decision. Flash, which is a browser add-on, has been disabled (by default) on Mozilla’s Firefox until the Adobe team can release an improved version. Despite Flash being under scrutiny in recent years, head of Firefox support Mark Schmidt stated that “To be clear, Flash is only blocked until Adobe releases a version which isn’t being actively exploited by publicly known vulnerabilities.”
The precautionary measures being taken by the tech giants are affecting many sites and the implications are not just limited to smaller businesses who may have implemented Flash before the creation of the “Smart Phone” as we know it. Some of the most profitable and dynamic corporations in the nation are utilizing Flash on their sites. Anyone from Walmart to the Wall Street Journal may be affected and while the user experience on these sites is certainly impacted in a negative way (for the time being), panicking is probably premature.
While the news may not have been a surprise to Steve Jobs, who publicly criticized Flash shortly before his death for it’s security issues and efficiency, this does not mean Flash will be phased out just yet. Flash, which isn’t supported on Apple’s mobile devices still remains an essential web technology being relied upon by many small and big businesses alike. This very well may be a turning point for Flash and it’s longevity is dependent upon the vigilance of Adobe, who have already released security updates on the Flash player for the Mac, Windows & Linux platforms.