Google Chrome’s decision to drop support for Java and other plug-ins running the Netscape Plug-in API (NAPI) has a lot of people upset, including this reader:
“Whats the deal with Chrome not supporting Java any longer? I can no longer play a lot of the games I like. Won’t this encourage a lot of people not to use Chrome any longer as there is a myriad of things that use Java.”
If you’re a fan of some game sites like Pogo.com, you’re used to seeing this when you log on.
But now when you open the site in the Google Chrome browser, you’ll see this:
That’s because Chrome no longer supports the Java plug-in. What’s going on? Chrome isn’t only dropping support for Java. Silverlight and Unity plug-ins are also affected. Java has been blocked by default in Chrome for security purposes already for some time now.
According to the developers of Chrome, the web has evolved while NAPI, which was developed in the 90s, “has become a leading cause of hangs, crashes, security incidents, and code complexity.”
Java is know for being insecure. In fact, half of all known malware exploits target Java. In fact, one security expert at Trusteer described it as “a high risk application that exposes organizations to advanced attacks. It has numerous vulnerabilities that can be exploited to deliver malware and compromise users’ machines. Once on the endpoint, it is extremely difficult to prevent its malicious execution.”
In 2013, Java security exploits were responsible for 91% of all computer compromises. That’s a pretty dangerous plug-in.
Chrome also says that fewer than 4% of Chrome users actually launch Java on a monthly basis. For now, advanced users can use a temporary override to launch Java, but even that will be removed in September of 2015.
Chrome is probably also hoping to force developers into coming up with a safer alternative to Java. Chrome suggests HTML5 as an alternative for video and audio and NaCL for games.
Java suggests that users switch to Firefox, Internet Explorer, or the Safari Browser. Microsoft’s new Edge browser will not support Java.
Among the sites affected by the end of Java support are Pogo.com, a very popular gaming site and a lot of internal business sites that use Java applets for things like time clocks and other forms.
Below is an example of what Pogo.com looks like on Firefox.
Here’s the same page in Chrome.
To sum it up, I’d say Chrome is dropping Java because they don’t feel it’s safe, Java isn’t very popular among Chrome users and because they’d like to see the development of newer and safer technologies.