On January 19th, 2021, Google released a new Chrome version–Chrome 88. The most notable part of this release is the removal of the Adobe Flash Player and FTP features.
Google removed support for FTP in the Chrome browser because usage is significantly low and it is no longer viable to invest in improving the existing FTP client.
However, the removal wasn’t abrupt. Google had previously removed support for fetching document sub resources over FTP and rendering of top-level FTP resources in Google Chrome 72 and later versions. A bug in Google Chrome 74 and later versions resulted in dropping support for accessing FTP URLs over HTTP proxies. In Google Chrome 76, proxy support was removed entirely. The abilities of Google Chrome’s FTP implementation were restricted to either displaying a directory listing or downloading over unencrypted connections.
In Chrome 77, FTP support was disabled by default for 50 percent percent of users but was available with flags. In Google Chrome 76, the abilities of Google Chrome’s FTP implementation were restricted to either displaying a directory listing or downloading over unencrypted connections. Upon the release of the Chrome 88 version, Google stated that: “All FTP support is disabled. The legacy FTP implementation in Chrome has no support for encrypted connections (FTPS), nor proxies.”
FTP wasn’t the only feature terminated, Flash was also eliminated. Google didn’t terminate the use of Flash in Chrome without any reason. At a conference in 2018, the Director Of Engineering at Google, Parisa Tabriz, said that the percentage of daily Chrome users who have loaded at least one page containing Flash content per day went down from 80 percent in 2014 to under 8 percent in early 2018. This number has continued to plummet since.
In 2011, at the prime of Flash Players, W3Techs, the web technology survey site, recorded that 28.5 percent of all websites at the time uses Flash code. However, currently in January 2021, the figure has plummeted to 2.2 percent. From this data, it is clear that Flash’s era is over and it won’t be missed as its discontinuation is justified.
Flash originally reached the end of its life (EoL) when Adobe started blocking content from playing with Flash on January 12, 2021. Before this, Adobe had stopped supporting the software officially on December 31, 2020. The decision to end Flash was led by Adobe and it was mutually reached with browser makers such as Mozilla, Microsoft, Apple, and Google, since 2017. Currently, Google, Mozilla, and Apple have stopped supporting Flash. The only browser maker that is yet to stop supporting Flash is Microsoft. Microsoft is scheduled to stop supporting Flash later this month (January 2021).
In addition to Flash and FTP removal, additional features added to Chrome include its new ability to block mixed, insecure downloads and it also supports extensions built with Manifest v3 extension rules.