Chrome 55 now available: loads HTML5 over Flash by default, drastically reduces RAM usage

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Google over the past year or so has been slowly pushing Flash out the back door in favor of HTML5, a far superior technology that improves security, reduces power consumption and leads to faster load times. With Chrome 55 having just advanced to the stable channel for Windows, Mac and Linux, the transition is nearly complete.

Chrome 55, as explained by Google’s Anthony LaForge earlier this year, will default to a site’s HTML5 experience in most every instance when it has a choice. If a site only uses Flash, you’ll be prompted to allow it the first time you visit.

An exception to this rule only applies to the top 10 websites that use Flash (and only for a year). Those sites are: YouTube.com, Facebook.com, Yahoo.com, VK.com, Live.com, Yandex.ru, OK.ru, Twitch.tv, Amazon.com and Mail.ru.

Elsewhere, Chrome 55 is also said to drastically reduce RAM usage by as much as 50 percent thanks to an updated JavaScript V8 engine that reduces the memory zone and heap size. Google’s web browser is notoriously bad for its handling of memory so it’s great that they’re finally addressing the issue.

While on the subject, I’d also recommend checking out our recent Chrome optimization guide if you haven’t already done so. By grabbing Chrome 55 and tweaking a handful of settings, you’ll likely notice a substantial performance improvement.

In the event you’ve disabled automatic updates or aren’t currently using Chrome, you can grab version 55 for a variety of platforms right here. If you're looking for the change log, that's available on the Chrome release blog.

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OutlawCecil

TS Evangelist
What?? Pretty sure YouTube and Facebook have both been free of Flash for at least a year now. There may be some outdated ads but meaningful content is all HTML5 already.
 

Darth Shiv

TS Evangelist
What?? Pretty sure YouTube and Facebook have both been free of Flash for at least a year now. There may be some outdated ads but meaningful content is all HTML5 already.
Didn't think youtube had gotten rid of flash. Last I checked I needed to change the player to html5. Certainly didn't think they removed support entirely.
 

Puiu

TS Evangelist
What?? Pretty sure YouTube and Facebook have both been free of Flash for at least a year now. There may be some outdated ads but meaningful content is all HTML5 already.
Didn't think youtube had gotten rid of flash. Last I checked I needed to change the player to html5. Certainly didn't think they removed support entirely.
html5 has been the default on youtube for quite some time now
 

James Chapman

TS Rookie
In all these years why has no one created an authoring tool for HTML5 that is remotely on par with the authoring tool Adobe made for Flash?
 

failquail

TS Enthusiast
For youtube at least, HTML5 has been default for quite some time but flash is still available if you force it (ie via an add-on)

This is handy for my lowly laptop (1.6ghz AMD E-450 APU) Which, due to flash GPU acceleration, can play 1080p video vs only 480p on HTML5...
 

SNGX1275

TS Forces Special
Just this past week I abandoned Chrome for Edge (I kind of have an inherent dislike of FF) because I couldn't pinpoint a CPU spike (it only went to about 25%, but hung the browser for about 2 seconds at a time) that was linked to Chrome (based on watching task manager). Since this update I've jumped back on Chrome and the issue seems to have resolved itself. I'm not sure if it was Flash related or not (however Flash video would freeze during these hangs, although so did typing in dialog boxes such as this). Whatever it was, the problem seems to be fixed in this current version.
 

bluto 2050

TS Addict
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Cryio

TS Addict
For youtube at least, HTML5 has been default for quite some time but flash is still available if you force it (ie via an add-on)

This is handy for my lowly laptop (1.6ghz AMD E-450 APU) Which, due to flash GPU acceleration, can play 1080p video vs only 480p on HTML5...
Or you can stay on HTML and use the extension H264ify: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/h264ify/aleakchihdccplidncghkekgioiakgal

You aren't getting HWA videos because Chrome defaults to VP9 video, which at the moment is partially only hardware accelerated on Intel's Kaby Lake. Using that extension will make Youtube videos default to mp4, which uses the H.264 codec, which is hardware accelerated by almost all GPUs in existence.
 

bluto 2050

TS Addict
Just updated and yeah, it does feel faster. Thanks Google!
On windows 10 x64 I'm using ~ 1.28 GB of ram with 20 Google ver.55 browsing tabs open ( *for all the Google processes ) so it's not taxing this Haswell Core i5 PC with 8 GB of ram so much as before it's a pretty large improvement here from some prior Chrome versions .

Firefox with the same 20 tabs open is also using ~ 1.28 GB of ram all by itself ☺
 
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In other news, NSA has announced they are cancelling all listening programs and are just going to buy some Microsoft and Google SysAdmins. A source, who asked not to be named, states: "Well, we got this suggestion to save government dollars and , when you think about, it just makes sense. Why put the country in further debt for domestic surveillance when these two companies account for over 100% of our requirements? You can buy a sysadmins there for bitcoins and with our new Utah facility, we're basically funding ourselves. So we gave the suggestor his $100 and we're running with it."