Google Chrome to bundle Flash, include PDF support? [Updated]

Rumors are afloat that Google's Chrome browser and upcoming operating system, Chrome OS, will soon bundle Adobe's Flash plugin. Larry Dignan of CNET reports that an announcement is expected to be made today about the new partnership between Google and Adobe. 

An unofficial Google blog is also reporting that PDF support is also rumored to be included through a plugin. Google currently provides a free Google Docs extension for Chrome that allows users to view PDF documents, powerpoint presentations, and other documents. 

After stories of Steve Jobs deep disdain of Adobe and their Flash plugin, some see this as an ever increasing rift between Apple and Google. Apple does not allow Flash on any of their iPhone OS devices and there is little doubt that it will ever be allowed on the OS. There is reason to speculate though that Google is just bundling the plugin for the sake of user convenience and experience, since Apple themselves bundle Flash Player with their own desktop operating system, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. 

Update: Google has just announced the new partnership and will be bundling Flash Player with Chrome for developer channel releases today. Updates to Flash Player will become automated through Chrome's autoupdate system and Chrome's sandbox will be extended to Flash Player in the future.

Mozilla is also playing a part in this announcement by joining Adobe and Google to develop a new browser plugin API based off of Mozilla's NPAPI. The new API will be "operating system and browser neutral" and will "allow plugins to more tightly integrate with host browsers, which in turn will benefit users in terms of performance and security", as described by TechCrunch.

Thanks to Borimol for the news tip

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42 Comments

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And I was made fun of for predicting this. XD Microsoft pushing Silverlight, Apple pushing HTML5, leaving Google to push Flash. It's the direction things were bound to go.

So, I have a question for you guys. If Chrome will include flash within the sandbox does that make it just as or almost as secure as using NoScript + Firefox? Thanks in advance

KSib said,
So, I have a question for you guys. If Chrome will include flash within the sandbox does that make it just as or almost as secure as using NoScript + Firefox? Thanks in advance

Chrome is already the most secure browser out there, regardless of Firefox addons. Chrome is sandboxed, nothing in Chrome can harm your pc.

Ambroos said,

Chrome is already the most secure browser out there, regardless of Firefox addons. Chrome is sandboxed, nothing in Chrome can harm your pc.

Sandbox is not some magical word that makes Chrome invulnerable. Flash doesn't even run in the sandbox so every flash vulnerability affects Chrome just as much they affect any other browser.

Edited by macel, Apr 1 2010, 4:16pm :

Ok, I'm no techie and I will not pretend to be one. But after reading about html 5, why aren't developers just coding everything in that rather than using flash more and more (when flash is supposedly more dangerous).

djpailo said,
Ok, I'm no techie and I will not pretend to be one. But after reading about html 5, why aren't developers just coding everything in that rather than using flash more and more (when flash is supposedly more dangerous).

because IE still doesn't support HTML 5 also devs are lazy and don't want to port all flash content to HTML 5.

Ryoken said,
It's called a Double Standard, and it's very common among the Open Source community.
HTML5 =/= Flash replacement. They have overlap (e.g. video), but they do not match each other for features (e.g. HTML is a better web language, Flash does advanced animation).

They are appropriate for different things. It's not an either/or situation. Less Flash usage is appropriate, but not zero usage.

No double standard here.

Edited by Kirkburn, Mar 30 2010, 8:13pm :

Kirkburn said,
HTML5 =/= Flash replacement. They have overlap (e.g. video), but they do not match each other for features (e.g. HTML is a better web language, Flash does advanced animation).

They are appropriate for different things. It's not an either/or situation. Less Flash usage is appropriate, but not zero usage.

No double standard here.

Exactly.
What most people are complaining about is the extensive use of FLASH to deliver VIDEO, when HTML5 promises to be a superior alternative.

i don't mean to play devil's advocate here but..

google and mozilla can bundle adobe flash and pdf support.. but when microsoft bundles something they get slapped on the wrist?? like what? windows media player or IE.

what if i dont want flash.. what if i want to use silverlight?

Microsoft will get accused as monopolising the market, but if a competitor does it it's apparently all fair and good in the name of competition.

I don't care now as I can now just download Chrome and have everything there

I think it was a big win to be able to even burn ISO's out the box with W7..

signalpirate said,
i don't mean to play devil's advocate here but..

google and mozilla can bundle adobe flash and pdf support.. but when microsoft bundles something they get slapped on the wrist?? like what? windows media player or IE.

what if i dont want flash.. what if i want to use silverlight?

... Install Silverlight and stop complaining?

Way back in the Macromedia Flash 4 days, Internet Explorer did come bundled with Flash, and it was even updated through Windows Update. Somewhere along the line, this stopped, but bundling Flash with a browser is certainly not unprecendented.

Sounds like great news to me! Autoupdating hassle free for the win!

(and no, I don't want to read any posts pestering me about what I allow to autoupdate. I trust Google and it's my choice to allow autoupdating, thank you)

dead.cell said,
Sounds like great news to me! Autoupdating hassle free for the win!

(and no, I don't want to read any posts pestering me about what I allow to autoupdate. I trust Google and it's my choice to allow autoupdating, thank you)

OMG! You use autoupdate! But teh privacy!

Shadrack said,
OMG! You use autoupdate! But teh privacy!

lol, that's exactly the kind of comments I'm talking about!

Somehow people think I should be totally concerned that Google knows I've looked up crane flies and tickets for Buzzfest.

dead.cell said,

lol, that's exactly the kind of comments I'm talking about!

Somehow people think I should be totally concerned that Google knows I've looked up crane flies and tickets for Buzzfest.


But... But... They see ALL your searches if you enable the search suggestion feature in the navbar since they have to be sent to Google for that!

No, I agree. The key issue with their logic is: They think Google even find their lives interesting, as individuals. These geeks are completely uninteresting, despite perhaps other wishes on their part. I have a hard time imagining that information is used for other reasons than statistics, such as for the Google Insights page, and usage *patterns* for their browser to better know which features are important to develop, or branch into in other Google services.

If they see IP 123.45.67.89 is browsing at YouPorn again and is aroused by being dressed like a rabbit, so what!? What will happen. A letter from the authorities against rabbit dressing?

Edited by Northgrove, Mar 31 2010, 7:15am :

This is really a funny; I read this earlier this morning in the GD section, and got to thinking to myself how long before it was posted to the News Forum (about four hours). Wish I had written down the handle of the person who posted at that time.

Riggers said,

I like the sound of this bit...


Yes, and also to ensure users run the latest versions of it, that have the least security holes. There is a lot of security thinking behind this, *of course*, and it is a major reason why Google even does this. I have to smile a bit when I read all those comments that claim this to give the browser less security. Of all companies, Google is one of the leaders in browser security, so it sure is quite an argument to pick.

Edited by Northgrove, Mar 31 2010, 7:22am :

ataris_kid said,
So they can include Flash with Chrome OS, but still have issues with getting it into Android? Hm..

That's more Adobe's laziness, any 2.0+ phone will get it within a few months, many phones already have it.

After stories of Steve Jobs deep disdain of Adobe and their Flash plugin, some see this as an ever increasing rift between Apple and Google. There is reason to speculate though that Google is just bundling the plugin for the sake of user convenience and experience, since Apple themselves bundle Flash Player with their own desktop operating system.

I don't get it.. the paragraph starts out by saying the inclusion of flash is seen as an increasing rift between apple and google, yet its mentioned just after that apple also includes flash player with their OS...

profets said,

I don't get it.. the paragraph starts out by saying the inclusion of flash is seen as an increasing rift between apple and google, yet its mentioned just after that apple also includes flash player with their OS...


Sorry, I should have mentioned the big conundrum that Apple has over flash in iPhone OS . (that's what it was about)

Looks like Chrome will be easier for hackers if Flash is in out of the box, but how will this work, it won't be in Chromium because Adobe won't want there source code been distributed.

Ci7 said,
that would just make it bigger target for attack

Bundling Flash will actually help Google with covering it in their security sandbox most efficiently, and also ensure their users aren't using outdated and vulnerable versions of Flash, since it'll get auto-updated with the browser. See also their blog entry on this.

The only annoyance I can think of is if you don't use Flash at *all*, but this sure has to be a small minority of users.

Edited by Northgrove, Mar 31 2010, 7:57am :