Adobe, Google, Yahoo Team for Flash Search

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-07-01 Print this article Print

Adobe, Google and Yahoo join to make Flash content searchable. Adobe, Google and Yahoo immediately make Flash and other dynamic content that runs in Adobe Flash Player on thousands of Web sites visible to search.

In a move long in the making, Adobe Systems is teaming up with search engine leaders to make Flash content more searchable.

Eric Wittman, director of client distribution and business development in Adobe's Platform Business Unit, said the company is providing optimized Adobe Flash Player technology to Google and Yahoo to enhance search engine indexing of the Flash file format (SWF) and uncover information that is currently undiscoverable by search engines.

Adobe announced the news July 1, sharing its plans to try to dramatically improve search results of dynamic Web content and RIAs (rich Internet applications).

The move will provide more relevant automatic search rankings of the millions of RIAs and other dynamic content that run in Adobe Flash Player. In addition, RIA developers and rich Web content producers will not need to amend existing and future content to make it searchable, said Justin Everett-Church, senior product manager for Adobe Flash Player. They can be confident that their Flash-based content can now be found by users around the globe, Everett-Church said.

"We've wanted to make an announcement of this impact for several years now," Wittman said. "There are millions of things built in Flash and there have been concerns because of search engine compatibility. We have a piece of technology to remedy this and we're working with Google and Yahoo. Google has integrated it and Yahoo will in a period of time."

As Ryan Stewart, an Adobe evangelist, put it:

"So what does that mean? We are giving a special, search-engine optimized Flash Player to Yahoo and Google, which is going to help them crawl through every bit of your SWF file. This Flash Player will act just like a person would in some cases. It will click on your buttons, it will move through the states of your application, get data from the server when your application normally would, and it will capture all of the text and data that you've got inside of your Flash-based application. We've basically provided a very powerful looking glass into SWF files so Google and Yahoo can pull out meaningful information."

"This is a pretty important breakthrough to highly creative and interactive sites such as Disney and built with Flash and Rich Internet Applications can now be found, crawled indexed and ranked," said Bill Hunt, president of Global Strategies International, a search engine optimization consultancy. "For years, those with Flash sites have been conflicted with reducing the amount of flash or resorting to any number of less than optimal workarounds to get their content included in search engines let alone getting high rankings."

Many major brands and creative developers have been critical of the search engines for not working with them or Adobe to develop a solution to index and score their content, Hunt said.

"These developers and search engine optimization firms like Global Strategies have spent a lot of time and resources -- financial and manpower -- to code alternative sites and workarounds to get the exposure commensurate to their brand positions in the marketplace," he said.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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