Adobe Enables Search in Flash Content

Adobe Systems recently announced that the company will team up with the on-line search industry leaders to improve search results of dynamic Web content and rich Internet applications. Adobe is providing Flash Player technology to Google and Yahoo! In order to enhance search engine indexing Flash content and uncover information that is currently undiscoverable by search engines.

Adobe Flash & Google
Adobe Flash & Google

The access to Adobe’s Shockwave Flash Format (known as SWF) will help search providers reach information that is currently undiscoverable, providing more search rankings of the millions of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) and other dynamic content that run in Adobe Flash Player. According to Adobe, RIA developers and rich Web content producers will not need to change existing and future content to make it searchable, since the implementations made by Google and Yahoo will enable users to search even in existing RIA content.

One of most common RIA formats is Adobe’s SWF, which is installed on more than 98 percent of Internet-connected computers. Although search engines already index static text and links within SWF files, RIAs and dynamic Web content have been generally difficult to fully expose to search engines because of their changing states. Moreover, it seems that this problem exists in other RIA technologies as well.

“Until now it has been extremely challenging to search the millions of RIAs and dynamic content on the Web, so we are leading the charge in improving search of content that runs in Adobe Flash Player,” said David Wadhwani, General Manager and Vice President of the Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “We are initially working with Google and Yahoo! to significantly improve search of this rich content on the Web, and we intend to broaden the availability of this capability to benefit all content publishers, developers and end users.”

Better search
Adobe/Google – Better search?

“Designers and Web developers have long been frustrated that search engines couldn’t better access the information within their content created with Flash technology. It’s great to see Adobe and the search engines working directly together to improve the situation,” said Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, SearchEngineLand.com. “The changes should help unlock information that’s previously been ‘invisible’ and will likely result in a better experience for searchers.”

Google has already begun to incorporate Adobe’s technology into its search engine. Thanks to Adobe’s help, Google users now have the possibility to find the content on sites that use Adobe Flash technology more easily. As a result, millions of pre-existing RIAs and dynamic Web resources that utilize Adobe Flash technology, including content that loads at runtime, are immediately searchable without the need for companies and developers to alter them.

“Google has been working hard to improve how we can read and discover SWF files,” said Bill Coughran, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google. “Through our recent collaboration with Adobe, we now help Web site owners that choose to design sites with Adobe Flash software by indexing this content better. Improving how we crawl dynamic content will ultimately enhance the search experience for our users.”

Yahoo! also expects to deliver improved Web search capabilities for SWF applications in a future update to Yahoo! Search. “Yahoo! is committed to supporting webmaster needs with plans to support searchable SWF and is working with Adobe to determine the best possible implementation,” said Sean Suchter, Vice President Yahoo! Search Technology Engineering.

TFOT has recently covered Mahalo, a human powered search engine, developed by Entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, and the release of the Firefox 3 Internet browser, which is allegedly 7 times faster than Microsoft’s IE7. Another related TFOT story concerns the development of P4P, a protocol that enables Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) software providers to work together in order to deliver data in a more efficient manner.

For more information about Adobe’s improvement of on-line search engines, see the company’s official press release.

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