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Microsoft Previews Flash Pause Capability in Edge Browser

Microsoft inched away from Adobe Flash this week with a new "auto-pause" capability that's available in preview with the Microsoft Edge browser.

This auto-pause capability affects nonessential Flash content, preventing animations and video from automatically running in the browser, such as ads. When the capability is activated, the user has to specifically click to activate the Flash content. However, this feature still permits the Flash content that's deemed "central to the page" to run, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Other browser makers, such as Google, have already taken the lead on this Flash auto-pause capability. The aim is to save the battery life on devices, according to Google's announcement last year.

Microsoft also sees its Flash auto-pause feature for Edge as a power-saving measure, but its announcement went a bit further. The team sees end days ahead for Flash support on the Edge browser.

"We are planning for and look forward to a future where Flash is no longer necessary as a default experience in Microsoft Edge," the Edge team wrote.

The move away from Flash is being powered by HTML5 Web recommendations at the Worldwide Web Consortium, which offer other means for running animations and video in Web page code.

"Standards like Encrypted Media Extensions, Media Source Extensions, Canvas, Web Audio, and RTC offer a rich way to deliver similar experiences with increased performance and security," the Edge team explained.

For the time being, though, Microsoft supports Flash within its Edge browser. Flash gets updated as part of Microsoft's monthly patch process.

The new Flash auto-pause capability is currently at the early preview stage. It can be tried using the Edge browser with Windows 10 preview build 14316, also known as the "anniversary update" preview. Microsoft released this preview to its "fast-ring" Windows Insider testers earlier this week.

Other browser improvements were described this week by the Edge team. For instance, Edge has a new issue tracker to better report and address software flaws.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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