Adobe and Google announced plans today to integrate the Flash player plugin into Google’s Chrome web browser, in a move that the companies say will advance the speed of innovation on the web. By tightening their partnership for web development, the move could be seen as a strike against common enemy Apple, which has eschewed the Flash player runtime on its iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices.
Google announced that it is releasing a version of the Chrome browser with the Flash Player built in, so that users won’t have to install the plugin to access rich Internet applications and web video on their desktops. The web search giant has made the first version of the integrated Chrome browser available through its developer channel, with plans to make the integrated product generally available to all Chrome users at some point in the future.
The partnership is not focused on gaining wider adoption for the Flash plugin, which is already installed on about 98 percent of all Internet-connected PCs, according to Adobe. Instead, it is aimed at making the Flash Player work more seamlessly within the Google browser, with the hopes of improving performance and reducing incompatibilities and security issues between the two.
To that end, Google and Adobe are also collaborating with Mozilla to extend their integration out to the broader developer community by creating a new API aimed at improving the way that web browsers and their plugins interact with one another. The new API, which is currently under consideration, would be operating system and browser-neutral and would theoretically provide performance benefits by sharing more information between browser and plugin processes. Tighter integration could also encourage a more secure browsing experience to end users.
The extension of the partnership comes at the same time that Apple is preparing for this weekend’s launch of the iPad, which doesn’t include the Flash Player. Since the iPad and the iPhone don’t support the Flash runtime, companies that wish to enable interactive experiences on those devices either have to build them using web standards like HTML5, or by rolling out device-specific applications for the Apple products.
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