Google will call out flash-heavy websites on mobile search

Google search

Adobe stopped developing Flash for mobile devices in 2011, and since then most providers of mobile video and interactive webpages have moved to competing standards like HTML5. But there are still a lot of flash-based sites extant on the web, and now Google will start posting a warning on smartphone searches that certain Flash-heavy search results probably won’t work on a mobile browser.

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The warning implementation is similar what Google did last month, when it announced that it would highlight and warn against faulty mobile redirects. When Google senses that you’re searching from a smartphone, and a search result uses Flash, the primary link will be deactivated. Google will post a light grey message warning the page “Uses Flash. May not work on your device.” If you still would like to visit, there’s a “Try anyway” link.

Most of the sites affected by this change will be older pages that haven’t adapted to modern best practices, and Google is providing resources for webmasters looking to get up to date. The change will save mobile users some time because neither Safari on iOS nor Chrome on Android supports Flash. Still — when mobile browsing was young, the lack of mobile Flash support was supposed to be a major hurdle, as lots of major content hubs used Adobe’s software. Now Flash-based pages represent a quaint anachronism Google is advising users against visiting.

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