Google Chrome, Flash, and ‘component updater’

A few days ago, I posed a series of questions about Flash in Chrome. Since then, I’ve done some digging, and I’m now able to answer most of those questions.

  1. Q: What is the ‘component updater’?
    A: It’s a process used by Chrome to silently and automatically update certain specific components of the browser. The new, integrated Flash component falls into that category, so Flash in Chrome is updated automatically and without any notification to the user. When new versions of Chrome are released, Google may or may not refer to Flash updates in the release notes.
  2. Q: How does the component updater affect the version number of Chrome in Windows?
    A: It doesn’t. Component updates are distinct from new versions of the browser itself. You can, however, find the versions of Chrome’s components by browsing to special addresses in Chrome, as follows:

    • chrome://plugins/ – lists all plugins, along with their versions, including the integrated Flash.
    • chrome://flash/ – shows details of the integrated Flash component, including its version.
    • chrome://version/ – shows a version summary for Chrome and its major components, including the integrated Flash.
  3. Q: Has Flash been updated in my version of Chrome or not?
    A: You can’t depend on Google to announce new versions of the integrated Flash, regardless of whether the new version is packaged along with a new version of Chrome, or updated separately via the component updater. Use one of the special URLs listed above to check the version you’re using.
  4. Q: How can I determine what version of Flash is running in Chrome?
    A: Use one of the special URLs listed above.
  5. Q: What is “Windows Standalone Enterprise”?
    A: This remains a mystery. The Chrome release channels page doesn’t mention it. Perhaps it’s only available to enterprise (corporate) clients. Or possibly the Chrome announcement that referred to this channel was in error. In any case, you can’t really depend on Google’s announcements to mention new Flash versions; use one of the specials URLs above, along with Flash announcements from Adobe, to determine what version of Flash you have, and what version you need.

About jrivett

Jeff Rivett has worked with and written about computers since the early 1980s. His first computer was an Apple II+, built by his father and heavily customized. Jeff's writing appeared in Computist Magazine in the 1980s, and he created and sold a game utility (Ultimaker 2, reviewed in the December 1983 Washington Apple Pi Journal) to international markets during the same period. Proceeds from writing, software sales, and contract programming gigs paid his way through university, earning him a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) degree at UWO. Jeff went on to work as a programmer, sysadmin, and manager in various industries. There's more on the About page, and on the Jeff Rivett Consulting site.

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