Last month I wrote about how Chrome will stop supporting plugins that use NPAPI. I had heard rumors that it would block Flash advertising all together but it seemed like a sensationalized story but now I see that there was some truth.

Chrome will start to pause Flash animation on websites by default that are peripheral to the main page in September.

Chrome has been working with Adobe to lower energy consumption on devices so they added a new setting that will automatically pause plugin content that is “peripheral to the main page” to save battery power for laptops and devices.  At the moment, this setting is set to “Run all plugin content (recommended)” by default – but that will change in September of this year.

In September, “Detect and run important plugin content” will be the default setting in Chrome. This will stop Flash content (like banner ads) from playing on websites unless the user changes the plug in settings. Chrome states that this is a par

You can enable the setting now to see what it will look like if you follow the directions here.

I changed my settings on Chrome to see what Yahoos front page would look like by default in December. You can see the area where the billboard should be playing grayed out on the left with a play button in the middle. After I pressed the “play” button, the ad didn’t play but instead displayed the final frame of the flash animation and there was no way to interact with the rich media part of the ad unit – the click through was the only working part of the ad unit.

Yahoo's homepage with paused Flash content.

Yahoo’s homepage with paused Flash content.

There is no information about how the Flash Plugin will determine if the Flash content is an ad unit or not. There might be a way to edit the ad data so that Flashplayer doesn’t view it as “periphery” but we will just have to wait and see. The only suggestion that Chrome has for advertisers is to use Google tools to serve HTML5 ad units.

This wouldn’t be a big issue but the Chrome browser has 44.5% of the market share.

Maybe such a sweeping change will have a backlash with websites that use Flash or maybe this is the big push to start building and serving HTML5 ads.

Even if there is pushback, this is one more move to remove plugins from the browser as users move to battery powered devices.

Do you have any thoughts? Is this the end of Flash banner ads?