Microsoft released Build 14316 of Windows 10 to insiders on the Fast ring just days ago, and revealed that the company released two new extensions for the Microsoft Edge browser while updating three existing extensions. What the company did NOT reveal in its launch announcement was a specific change it made to the browser: auto-pausing content that is not central to a web page. Essentially, the browser will pause Flash-based animation and will require the user to click on the content if he\she wants it to play.
So why has Microsoft made this change? According to John Hazen, Principal Program Manager Lead of Microsoft Edge, this move will not only “significantly” reduce power consumption, but improve the performance of the browser and web page. However, not all Flash objects will be loaded in a paused state. Games and videos that are “central” to the page will not be touched by the Edge browser.
While Flash has been the centerpiece for Internet-based animation for decades, it’s become ancient and rather unsafe technology. Flash has been the target of hackers for years, who seemingly dissect every version Adobe releases and finds a way to infiltrate the software and the resulting computers of Web surfers. HTML5 is the rising replacement, requiring absolutely no additional software but instead a modern browser that supports it.
Microsoft introduced the Edge browser with the launch of Windows 10 in July 2015. It’s the company’s take on a “modern” browser that was built from the ground up to support modern Web technologies like HTML5. The company still offers Internet Explorer, but the aging browser sits on the sidelines, waiting for the user to visit a “legacy” website that doesn’t use new technologies. That said, Edge does not support the likes of Browser Helper Objects, Active X, and other old Internet tech.
Microsoft introduced extensions last month to the Insider Preview program, which are expected to go live to the general public this summer. As reported earlier this week, Microsoft has updated Microsoft Translator, Mouse Gestures, and Reddit Enhancement Suite extensions while adding two more to the list: Pin It Button and OneNote Clipper. Extensions are typically safe to install and use, and expand the overall function of the browser itself.
As for pausing Flash-based objects in Microsoft Edge, the move isn’t surprising given that even Adobe is pushing for overall support of HTML5 instead of Flash. The company joins Google, Apple, Mozilla, Microsoft, and numerous other organizations in a movement for a safer, less power-consuming Internet.