Google Strengthens Chrome's Flash Sandbox on Windows

Pulkit Chandna

It’s just not all of us who have become blasé about browser updates, but even browser developers themselves seem to be having a hard time keeping up with all the frequent updates. The Google Chrome team must have been very jaded when they released the latest stable version of their browser late last month, as they totally forgot to mention one of the most important changes inside —one that took over two years for them to put together.

“A little more than two years ago, engineers on the Chrome team began a very ambitious project. In coordination with Adobe, we started porting Flash from the aging NPAPI architecture to our sandboxed PPAPI platform,” Justin Schuh, a Google software engineer, wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “With last week’s Chrome Stable release, we were finally able to ship PPAPI Flash to all Windows Chrome users, so they can now experience dramatically improved security and stability as well as improved performance down the line.”

According to Google, this move from NPAPI to PPAPI essentially means that Flash on Windows is now in a sandbox that is on par with Chrome’s native sandbox in terms of strength. Another advantage of Flash being ported over to PPAPI is that the complexity and legacy code that accompanied the former can no longer hamper the plugin’s performance, leading to a number of improvements, including a 20% reduction in crashes, faster rendering and smoother scrolling. Further, Google says that PAPI is the only way to fully enjoy Flash in Windows 8 Metro mode, as it “doesn’t let the OS bleed through”

“Moving forward, we’re finishing off the PPAPI Flash port for Mac OS X and hope to ship it soon. And Linux users have already been benefiting from PPAPI Flash since Chrome 20, along with Chrome OS users who have been running it for almost a year. Soon all Chrome users will have access to the improved security, stability, and performance of PPAPI Flash.”

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