The latest version of Google Chrome (Version 55) now disables Adobe Flash Player by default. If your web conferencing vendor relies on Flash to run the application inside a web browser, you can expect to start getting complaints and requests for help from your attendees and presenters who use Chrome. Examples of products that rely on Flash include (but are not limited to) Webinato and Adobe Connect.
Products that install client software on participant computers, products that use Java, products that use HTML5 and products that use dedicated mobile apps are not affected by this update.
Google now joins Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari in the list of major web browsers that disable Flash by default.
Fortunately, there is a workaround. Users can manually enable Flash Player in their own web browsers. I found a great help page from the CBC with instructions on enabling Flash in all three browsers:
If you are a webinar host, you might want to keep that web page handy for emailing to your attendees. If you are unsure of whether your webinar vendor relies on Flash Player, you should check their website or contact their support department. If you ARE a web conferencing vendor, you should place a prominent notice on your website and on Twitter informing users of whether the Flash issue affects your products or not.
And I would think it goes without saying that this signals an impending death knell for Flash support altogether at some point in the not-too-distant future. Web conferencing vendors no longer have the luxury of riding out Flash to the bitter end of its run… We're there!
UPDATE DECEMBER 12 -- This may not be quite the abrupt change in behavior originally promised by Google. One Flash-based vendor checked operation on Chrome 55 and found that their Flash operation was NOT blocked. Click here to read an article from PC World indicating a softer move away from Flash thanks to some difficult-to-understand metrics that affect behavior on individual users' computers. My takeaway is that just about any site you have ever visited will allow Flash for the present. But Google plans to ramp up the threshold for how much you interact with sites in order to make them Flash-worthy. By June 2017, Flash will be enabled only for sites with the maximum "Site Engagement score" of 100. So different users will get different behaviors in their web browsers, and the behaviors themselves can change over time. This should be fun for administrators and support personnel.