Google Will No Longer Index Flash-Based Websites

Posted on October 29, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Web browsers with 13 Comments

In yet another blow to Adobe Flash, Google this week said that it will stop indexing Flash-based content in websites in its search engine.

“Google Search will stop supporting Flash later this year,” Google’s Dong-Hwi Lee writes in a new post to the Webmaster Central Blog. “In web pages that contain Flash content, Google Search will ignore the Flash content. Google Search will stop indexing standalone SWF files. Most users and websites won’t see any impact from this change.”

Flash is quickly disappearing from the web, thanks in large part to its diminished support in mainstream web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Microsoft in 2017 announced its own schedule for killing Flash support, noting that the technology will no longer be supported in its web browsers “after 2020.” As of today, we’re in the final phase of that schedule, with Flash disabled by default in both Microsoft Edge and IE; if re-enabled, Edge will continue to require approval for Flash on a site-by-site basis.

“Flash, you inspired the web,” Dong-Hwi concludes. “Now, there are web standards like HTML5 to continue your legacy.”

Tagged with

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (13)

13 responses to “Google Will No Longer Index Flash-Based Websites”

  1. iPhoneX

    Jobs got this right, he called it on "Thoughts on Flash" 9 years ago - an open letter which even has its own Wikipedia article.

    • wright_is

      In reply to iPhoneX:

      He was late to the party, but still ahead of most of the industry.

      We had been saying for years that Flash was dreadful and should die. But it took a big voice to actually get the message across. When he published that, "we" said, "finally!"

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to iPhoneX:

      That was about Adobe not porting Photoshop to OS X until very late in the game, not about any issues with Flash.

  2. simard57

    I have to get my eyes checked - I read the headline as "Flesh-based Websites" which would cut down 40% of all websites!

  3. thejoefin

    Throw back to Homestar Runner!!!

  4. RonV42

    I killed Flash at my workplace in 2018 in preparation for Adobe's 2020 retirement. You will be amazed at how many vendors still build flash directly into their products that aren't ready to move on to more modern presentation. Even a edict in our procurement process that denies any product that leverages flash still I get calls weekly for an exception to this policy.

    • wright_is

      In reply to RonV42:

      I haven't had Flash on my PC since around 2014 and haven't missed it. I was running a Flash blocker long before that and only let the Flash that was absolutely necessary for a site to run.

      I did keep a VM with Flash available at work, because we were using VMWare and it was only with 6.7 that we got parity between the HTML5 and Flash versions of the console. I still used the HTML5 version 90% of the time, but some things, like adding physical hardware passthru could only be achieved via Flash up until about a year ago, so I'd flip over to the secure VM for those tasks.

  5. Lordbaal

    WWE network finally went to HTML, Now Fox sports go have to get off flash. That's the only site I watch videos that is still using flash.

  6. Winner

    Finally flash is going to die.

  7. chuckop

    Very troubling that Google can simply say, "we're going to ignore you and not give you any eyeballs because we don't like your technology".

  8. illuminated

    There is also the dark side nobody seems to talk about...

    Lack of support for browser plugins hurt small companies that built clients using either Java or Flash plugins. To them death of plugins means a year, two or three of serious rewrites with no benefits whatsoever. Some may simply go out of business.

  9. Saarek

    The iPhone killed Flash and good riddance to it. HTML 5 and other open standards are so much better!