Google Chrome to discontinue Java Support
The actions of the Internet services developer Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) have been highly influential in various sectors of technological innovation. The company followed rival tech firm Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) into the ring of contenders in the mobile payment system field this year. Google’s acquisition of Android helped the company achieve dominance in the sphere of smartphones and mobile computing. Many former Google employees have left that company and stepped into executive roles at other tech giants like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Instagram and others. The multinational tech company has also proven to be adept at political influence; during 2012, the only corporation that outspent Google in lobbying spending was General Electric, and in 2013 Google was in fifth place.
Tech decisions made by this company can often herald important trends in the market. That’s one reason why Google’s decision to eliminate support for the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) could signal a much more diminished role for Java, once a very popular programming language for Internet applications. NPAPI is a cross-platform architecture for enabling browser plugins and Java’s reliance upon the architecture means that as NPAPI leaves the Chrome system, so will the ability to run Java applications. Chrome representatives have stated on the browser’s official blog that removing NPAPI will increase security and speed for the browser while reducing the complexity of the system. As Chrome has expressed on its DevTools website, “NPAPI is a really big hammer that should only be used when no other approach will work” because of its complexity and security risks.
Java has also suffered in recent years from a number of security breaches which has leveraged the ubiquitous nature of the programming language as well as vulnerabilities inherent in code imported into an API from third-party libraries. Major tech corporations like Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) have all been victimized in recent years by malicious programs taking advantage of Java vulnerabilities. Techniques such as Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP), which provides real-time analysis of application behavior for a more immediate response to any cyber attacks, have been developed by a Dublin-based firm known as Waratek. Still, data security concerns run so deep with Java that in January 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued guidance to all computer users that recommended disabling Java software on all computing products because malicious coders have been able to take advantage of Java’s vulnerabilities so consistently.