Why Google prefers HTML5 over Flash

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When it first rose to prominence as a popular online media player in the early 2000’s, people couldn’t get enough of Flash. When they added interactive elements in 2005, Flash quickly became one of the leading website creation and animation tools too. Finally, with the launch of YouTube, which used the Flash player for its videos, Flash had finally taken over the internet.

But now Flash isn’t so hot.

For a number of reasons, Google Adwords recently announced that they’re getting rid of Flash and will now automatically convert all Adwords Campaigns from Flash to HTML5. This is after Android already dropped Flash for HTML5, Mozilla Firefox recently blocked it, and a large number of online video content providers (including YouTube) have made the switch to HTML5.

Our artist’s rendition of what it looks like right now.

Here are some of the reasons HTML5 is quickly taking over as the major platform for Google Adwords, online video streaming and website animation.

Flash is a disaster on mobile devices

This was the major bane for Android when it came to using Flash for videos. Google launched the Nexus One with Flash and even though it was pretty high-end for its time with a 1 GHz processor, videos appeared buggy and most of the touch screen controls didn’t work properly. They attributed this to not having enough processing power.

Even with the advent of quad-core processors and GPU support in mobile devices, Flash failed to provide a solution to all the problems. The player was always a big drain on battery life and they never could figure out a way around that.

This led to Android eventually dropping them for HTML5 while Apple founder Steve Jobs publicly denounced Flash way back in 2010.

Trust him… he’s Steve Jobs.” width=”729″ height=”363″ /> Trust him… he’s Steve Jobs.

Flash videos takes much longer to load

Even though we’re in the age of blazing internet speeds, you still come across the dreaded ‘buffering’ screen every now and then while watching a video. That’s because, depending on the length of what you’re watching, videos can be large in size and the larger the file, the longer it’s going to take to load.
That’s because the Flash Player uses FLV files to play videos. Any video you upload to a Flash Player based file gets converted to an FLV. The FLV standard was introduced by Flash when they launched almost 2 decades ago and now we see a number of HD video formats (like MP4) that create much smaller file sizes.
HTML5 uses h.264 decoding that basically plays MP4 formats. Smaller file sizes means videos will load much faster.

flash html5 animation
THIS is the kind of Flash we want.” width=”729″ height=”363″ /> THIS is the kind of Flash we want.

Flash has no SEO value

This problem impacts both website animations and Google Adwords campaigns. When you create anything in Flash, it either outputs as an FLV (for videos) or SWF (for animations). Any text placed inside these animations or videos isn’t recognized as text, it’s just a part of the FLV or SWF file. This means search engines can’t read the text, meaning it has absolutely no value for SEO.

This is the face Google’s Web Crawlers make when they see a Flash ad.

HTML5 solves this problem. All elements inside an HTML5 animation retain their original file type so text can be read as text by search engines. HTML5 basically creates a wrapper around whatever elements you put so that the original elements aren’t converted and stay the same. This means your ads or animations can be used for SEO and SEM easily.

Flash is proprietary and closed

The one thing Steve Jobs really hated about Flash is the fact that all software and tools are proprietary to Adobe (owners of Flash). This means Flash game and app developers can only work on tools provided by Adobe. If a new OS update is launched and Flash hasn’t provided support for that OS yet, this means Flash developers will not be able to work on that OS until the people at Adobe decided to give them the tools for development. This is a big hindrance for developers and also risks other technologies or platforms that are reliant on Flash.

No one program should have all that power.
No one program should have all that power.

HTML5, JavaScript and CSS are the 3 main languages used to create HTML5 content. All 3 of these are open-source and have bustling development communities that provide the latest bootstrap frameworks and templates for developers to work on.


So there you have it. It’s not just us going on about how HTML5 is the only option now and Flash is a relic of the past. The whole developer community is on board with the fact that HTML5 is not just the future anymore, it’s the present too.

  • Jason Wu

    Jason is a software engineer and a technology enthusiast with a passion for coding and software development. His blog posts cover a wide range of topics related to software development, including programming languages, frameworks, tools, and best practices. Jason shares his knowledge, experience, and insights on software engineering concepts, coding techniques, and industry trends. His writing is technical, detailed, and geared towards fellow developers and software engineering professionals.

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