Ok, I admit it, I used a sensational subject line. So what. Google is really the new evil, well we certainly could call it a entry on the top 5 list of fashionably evil companies of late. Will it be on top? We shall see. But I digress.
I’ve been using the Google Chrome browser for several months now. I find it far better then Safari, using less resources, fast, etc. Upon the first install, the beta version of course, I imagine I saw a link to or saw the text of the EULA or TOS flash by in a series of NEXT depresses. It is too bad, some interesting wording was in there, in a place most consumers have become accustomed to not reading at all, legalese, eh? Did you read it dearest reader? I thought so. So what are the interesting parts?
11. Software updates
11.1 The Software which you use may automatically download and install updates from time to time from Google. These updates are designed to improve, enhance and further develop the Services and may take the form of bug fixes, enhanced functions, new software modules and completely new versions. You agree to receive such updates (and permit Google to deliver these to you) as part of your use of the Services.
20.2 From time to time, Google Chrome may check with remote servers (hosted by Google or by third parties) for available updates to extensions, including but not limited to bug fixes or enhanced functionality. You agree that such updates will be automatically requested, downloaded, and installed without further notice to you.
Hmmm….I MUST agree to updates of Chrome, eh? In fact, there is no way to turn this off! On a MAC there are some possible ways around this But WTF? I can’t easily shut this off as a feature? Sure, forcing updates means ultimately a more secure product, but its my choice damn it! Take that away and you are evil, and I don’t mean in the Knievel way. Heck, even the ubiquitously evil Microsoft allows this, eh?
So, that aside, its a great browser and works a treat when debugging my Flash Platform based applications. Oh wait, except for one small caveat. Google decided to bundle Flash Player 10.1 with Chrome. Hey, that’s awesome! Google is helping to spread the Flash wealth, nice. What’s that Steve? Yeah, whatever.
Why would I complain about this? Google Chrome pushes Flash Player 10.1 Release. This is really pretty cool, as then Chrome updates can push out the new plugin in case of, ahem, security issues for one. As a Flash Platform developer, this pains me no end though! Why? Consider this: I work in Flash daily and constantly use the debug player to do that work. I’ve set Chrome as my default browser ( brownie points G? ) I kick off the debugger with Flash Builder and rock the code, yeehaw! A nice “forced upon me” Chrome update comes along with out any real notification that happens to update Flash Player and bammmm! I waste productive time watching Flash Builder spin endlessly trying to connect to a debug player. ugh!
With this setup Chrome literally points to using the packaged Flash Player installed with Chrome. There is no way to directly change things in Chrome to point to using a external Flash Player plugin version. So, that magical update of Chrome can cost me a hour of time when suddenly the Flash Player in use is now the one Google deems apropos release Flash Player 10.1. yikes! Just to be clear here, the setup now IGNORES your system installed Flash Player plugin.
So, what can a developer do? aha!! or beter maybe: SHAZZAM!!!! Form of a pail of settings…oh, sorry. Open Chrome and navigate to about:plugins There you will find a listing of plugins available to Chrome and links to enable/disable. Just disable the stock Flash Player, usually the first on the list, and enable the installed one likely the second entry. Here is a screen-shot of what I’m talking about.