Facebook today announced that every video you see on its website now plays in HTML5 by default — and across all browsers, a change the company said "best enables us to continue to innovate quickly and at scale, given Facebook’s large size and complex needs." Adobe itself recently acknowledged that it's time to leave Flash behind, and back in July, Facebook's security chief called for the Flash creator to announce an end-of-life date for the technology which, thanks to oft-discovered vulnerabilities, is a constant target of malicious software.
"We decided to initially launch the HTML5 player to only a small set of browsers, and continuously roll out to more browsers, versions, and operating systems as we improved it and fixed small bugs," Facebook's Daniel Baulig wrote in a blog post. If you've been using anything resembling a modern PC, you've likely already been getting served HTML5-based videos for some time now. But some older browsers didn't fare well with the newer standard, suffering longer load times and experiencing more bugs. "That's why we waited until today to ship the HTML5 player to all browsers by default, with the exception of a small set of them," said Baulig.
Facebook is now fairly confident that it's addressed those problems and HTML5 should provide a good experience across the board. Another issue was that HTML5 videos caused Facebook's website to load a bit slower than normal, something Baulig says has also been fixed. "We finally reached a level we felt happy with shipping," he said. Aside from being more secure and optimized for the future, Facebook says HTML5 just makes the experience of using its social network better for everyone.
"People appear to be spending more time with video because of it," wrote Baulig. "Videos are an enriching way to connect with the world around you, and we're happy we could make the Facebook video experience better." Flash-based games aren't going away, however, with Facebook noting that it will collaborate with Adobe to ensure that the gaming experience will remain "reliable and secure."