Macromedia Flash, now owned and killed by Adobe, was once the Web’s darling. It enabled rich and interactive content that gave way to fancy web pages, games, and, of course, videos. Those came at the cost of file sizes, bandwidth, and security and has now turned into a liability rather than an asset. Almost all major web browsers have bid Flash farewell and soon Google Search will also be ignoring Flash content in indexing web pages.
Flash empowered the Web and the people who make content for the Web at a time when you could only dream of what’s currently possible today. Even when shiny animated Flash-based web navigation was starting to be frowned upon, Flash continued to be the only way to stream video to web browsers until HTML 5 came along.
Flash made it easy for anyone to create rich media content for the Web. In fact, it made it too easy. Along with heavy resource use, like CPU, bandwidth, and battery, the Flash player itself became a hub of security exploits that threatened to unravel the foundations of the Web.
Major browsers have long been moving away from Flash, starting with shiipping their own “secure” Flash player to disabling Flash by default. Google is now announcing that it’s taking the next step by practically ignoring Flash content when it indexes web pages. It will also stop indexing standalone SWF files that sites may contain.
The Google Search Flash snub will start later this year and shouldn’t impact users and websites, Google promises. Of course, it does mean that you will no longer see Flash content in Search results, making it seem like they don’t exist anymore. And for some, that is how things should be anyway.