I don't have Flash installed at all, and Google Maps works just fine without it.
Youtube also doesn't require Flash to download the videos. I use a number of youtube downloader programs to get the videos, and then use a native video player to watch them. Of course that's not how most people watch youtube videos. But there's really no reason why the service couldn't have been built around an some open downloading/streaming technology instead of Flash.
"it served and still serves brilliantly for sites made by the advertising industry."
Yet another reason to avoid Flash for end users like me, who hate ads and despise the advertising industry.