Google hammers another nail in Flash’s coffin, Netflix wastes too much of your time, Project Spark loses its spark, GCHQ joins Twitter, and how the Internet reacted to Infinite Warfare.
Google Chooses HTML5 Over Flash
Disabled Flash inside of Chrome, and now it’s 2-10X faster depending on the site. So much better. chrome://plugins/
— Aaron Klein (@AaronKlein) May 14, 2016
Google is planning to disable Adobe Flash by default in Chrome from later this year. Instead of Flash, HTML5 will become the default setting for all websites offering it. This is currently just a draft proposal, but Google has made it clear that “the tone and spirit should remain fairly consistent”.
If a user visits a website which requires Flash, they will, on the first visit, be given the option of allowing it to run. This setting will then honored on all subsequent visits to that site. The only exceptions being the Top 10 domains that still rely heavily on Flash, such as YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon.com, and Twitch.tv. These will be whitelisted for one year.
This is the latest in a long line of efforts by Google to kill off Flash, with the company having already banned Flash ads on its platform. However, while the vast majority of people also want to see the back of the security nightmare that is Flash, they also don’t want to lose access to their favorite websites.
This proposal offers a solution, essentially forcing websites to give up on Flash and switch to using HTML5. After all, Chrome is now the most popular Web browser in the world, giving Google the power to make sweeping changes such as this one.
You’re Watching Too Much Netflix
The average American now spends more time watching Netflix than participating in sports and exercise, relaxing and thinking, reading, or even socializing and communicating. That is at least according to CordCutting.com, which knows all about these things.
According to Netflix, the average subscriber spends around 100 minutes a day using the streaming service. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends 17 minutes doing physical activity, 17 minutes relaxing, 19 minutes reading, and 38 minutes socializing.
These statistics are rather concerning. They suggest that despite all recent efforts to get us all off our (increasingly larger) posteriors, being a couch potato is now the norm. And it’s at least partly the fault of Netflix and its obsession with binge-watching. Still, at least it’s proof that Netflix is incredible value for money, despite recent price hikes.
Microsoft Kills Project Spark
Microsoft is calling time on Project Spark, its game creation tool designed to help gamers explore their creative side. Project Spark was announced at E3 2013, and launched on Windows 8.1 and Xbox One in October 2014.
However, Microsoft has now abandoned Project Spark, having stopped selling the game on Friday (May 13), and shuttering both support and servers on August 12. Users need to download their own creations and their favorite community creations by that date, or risk losing them forever.
Project Spark Community Manager Thomas Gratz explained in a forum post:
“This was an extremely difficult decision for our team that we do not take lightly. When ‘Project Spark’ transitioned away from active development last fall, many of our team members moved to other projects within Microsoft Studios.”
“While this means there have been no layoffs at Microsoft, it also means it’s simply no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping ‘Project Spark’ up and running with meaningful updates and bug fixes, so we have come to this hard decision.”
As Project Spark became free in October 2015, anyone who bought the Project Spark Starter Kit and redeemed the code inside is now eligible for a “credit that can be used to purchase content in the Xbox or Windows store”. If you think this applies to you, visit xbox.com/spark for details.
GCHQ Joins Twitter
Hello, world. https://t.co/SROtSsE8KB
— GCHQ (@GCHQ) May 16, 2016
GCHQ, the more common name for the British Government Communications Headquarters, has joined Twitter. Its first tweet was a simple, “Hello, World”, a nod to computer coders everywhere. And one of the first accounts it followed was James Bond‘s @007. A nod to, well, the rest of us.
Given the nature of what GCHQ is and does, it’s rather strange to find this particular organization engaging on social media. GCHQ is, after all, the British equivalent of the NSA (National Security Agency), and has therefore been snooping on our tweets (and much more besides) for many years.
In a blog post on its site, GCHQ explained its reasons for joining Twitter, saying:
“We want GCHQ to be more accessible and to help the public understand more about our work. We also want to reach out to the technical community and add our voice to social media conversations about technology, maths, cybersecurity and other topics where we have a view.”
The Internet Reacts to Infinite Warfare
And finally, this video perfectly sums up the Internet’s reaction to the reveal trailer for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Activision revealed the latest CoD game, due to be released on November 4th, on May 2nd, and since then it has racked up almost 22 million views.
While that’s an impressive number, the problem is 2.2 million people has disliked it, while just 368k have liked it. Which makes this the second most-hated video on YouTube of all time, with Justin Bieber’s Baby sitting comfortably at number one with 6.1 million dislikes.
The hatred stems from the futuristic setting and the bundling of a remastered version of Modern Warfare. It has also become rather trendy to hate on Call of Duty, one of the biggest video game franchises of all time. Still, this video sums the situation up perfectly. [H/T Reddit]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Do you agree with Google’s decision to disable Flash by default? How much Netflix do you watch on an average day? How do you feel about Microsoft killing Project Spark? Will you be following GCHQ on Twitter? Will you be buying Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.
Image Credit: Yuko Honda via Flickr