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Google now indexing flash?
bull




msg:105213
 5:45 pm on Apr 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Continued from:
[webmasterworld.com...]

just saw a serp with an indexed flash page, can't still believe my eyes. At least [flash] is shown at the result.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 9:14 pm (utc) on April 28, 2004]

 

Powdork




msg:105273
 9:00 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

but Flash's inherent poor usability makes the usefulness of that information questionable. So the format is most definitely as important as the information itself, at least in Flash's case.
what inherent poor usability? My three year old can easily navigate through nickjr's playtime with no problem. It is made to be overly usable with flash. Many online tutorials are done entirely in flash.
As far as cost goes, for $300 I could have ten times the computer I'm running it on now, and getting the plugin is about as easy as logging in to webmasterworld, and free too.

bcolflesh




msg:105274
 9:05 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't see the aforementioned tags in a search.

Try "swf".

pleeker




msg:105275
 9:13 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

what inherent poor usability?

As mentioned in many previous posts:

* the inability to bookmark within the file
* the inability to command-F search within the file
* the forced wait while the file finally gets to the part I'm interested in
* etc.
* etc.

Powdork




msg:105276
 11:47 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

* the inability to bookmark within the file
yes, even I mentioned that one.

* the inability to command-F search within the file
oh well

* the forced wait while the file finally gets to the part I'm interested in

That is the fault of the designer, same as if there is poor navigation on an html site (or if they use frames without a redirect to the frameset). Additionally, it is the fault of the search engine. Since they can't index the content, they bring you in at the beginning. It's like coming in on someones homepage when you need to be four levels deep. Perhaps the designer wants you to get the whole story. Maybe they are trying to convey something beyond bland information.

* etc.
* etc.
Now how can I argue with those.;)

BigDave




msg:105277
 11:57 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Perhaps the designer wants you to get the whole story. Maybe they are trying to convey something beyond bland information.

in other words, the type of site that I hate to go to when I do a search, even if it is HTML.

Show me what I went there looking for first, and let *me* decide if I want to "get the whole story" or just what I was looking for.

There is a reason that engineers hate marketing and "designers", because for some unknown reason, those sorts of people seem to think that their precious presentation is more important than the message itself.

Powdork




msg:105278
 12:29 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

engineers hate marketing and "designers"
kind of a sweeping statement, don't you think?
BigDave




msg:105279
 12:42 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

kind of a sweeping statement, don't you think?

Why yes, you are correct.

But I still stand by it as generally correct.

rfgdxm1




msg:105280
 12:54 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I still look at Flash as being the equivalent of Satan to the Internet. At least .pdf files have the justification that they are platform independent.

Powdork




msg:105281
 12:55 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Unless I am mistaken (quite possible) this [ni.com] is marketing and engineering integrated seemlessly with flash.:)

bcolflesh




msg:105282
 1:04 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

"I was not able to extract a character encoding labeling from any of the valid sources for such information. Without encoding information it is impossible to validate the document. The sources I tried are:

The HTTP Content-Type field.
The XML Declaration.
The HTML "META" element. "

rfgdxm1




msg:105283
 1:15 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Worked well Powdork until slide 5. That "Click here to see..." fired up Windows media player, and then after downloading something for 2 minutes an error page popped up. Could be a temporary server glitch. Or, this is just broken for someone on dial-up like me, and most of the rest of the planet.

Powdork




msg:105284
 1:20 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Worked fine for me but I am on broadband. That is a problem with wmp, not flash. I'm not sure why they did it though. Even working correctly it was vastly inferior to the rest of the site.

Patrick Taylor




msg:105285
 1:31 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

The conflict between "precious" designers and narrow-minded engineers will go on forever. I recently searched Google for printing firms in Melbourne and found nothing but the most awful websites imaginable - in both design and engineering terms. It was depressing!

Good web design and engineering together can be had in html or Flash (or a combination of both), and all disciplines are precious whether it be websites or anything else. The plain simple fact is that Flash does offer design options that "good old html" doesn't, and vice versa. Constantly throughout this thread, the technology is being confused with its misuse. I don't think anyone is defending bad Flash sites. The argument is whether a major search engine like Google can - and then should - award parity in search ranking to deserving sites with technologies other than "good old html".

Flash is now an accepted tool for building websites or parts of websites - I've never built one yet that didn't have an element of Flash, and I've had no complaints from clients or users. The three hosting companies I use have a Flash feature predominant on their homepages, and the top-ranking site in Google for a search on "search engine optimization" has a Flash header. It's here to stay, irrespective of whether some people refuse to install the free and harmless plug-in or not.

In my case I value vector graphics and what can be done with it, plus the speed advantages it offers over raster graphic files. I also value the way Flash can enhance the navigation of a site. And Flash gives productivity advantages too. Obviously I will have to leave others to judge whether this is successful or not.

Much more interesting than "designer-bashing" is what to do about, for example, the accessibility issues raised by the use of Flash, and other aspects brought out here, like bookmarking, all of which must ultimately have a design/engineering solution. And Google can help by presenting Flash content in its SERPS - on merit, of course.

Incidentally, as I understand it, there are many more people with the Flash player than there are with JavaScript-enabled browsers. Is anyone suggesting Google should downgrade pages containing JavaScript?

digitalv




msg:105286
 1:40 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I hate to be bashing Google after all of the GMail defending I've done lately, BUT ... I think indexing Flash sites is an OK move, but to include them in search results should be a configurable option.

I'm a minimalist - I have found no reason to have Flash on my system and thus I don't. When I go to a website that was built in Flash or has a Flash intro, I make use of the BACK button and surf elsewhere. If a site has a couple of flash graphics decorating the page, I put up with the broken images.

I will not be installing Flash on my system, now or ever (unless of course it's bundled in with a browser and I have no choice). It kinda bugs me that Google lets third party tools like Flash sites and PDF files into the results and doesn't let me filter them out.

Interestingly enough, the "Advanced Search" portion of Google's site has this option:

Only/Don't return results of the file format:

  • any format
  • Adobe Acrobat PDF
  • Adobe Postscript
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Powerpoint
  • Rich Text Format

    ... where is HTML? Why can't I only return results in HTML documents and ignore the rest of the garbage?

  • BigDave




    msg:105287
     1:56 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Incidentally, as I understand it, there are many more people with the Flash player than there are with JavaScript-enabled browsers. Is anyone suggesting Google should downgrade pages containing JavaScript?

    I often surf with JS turned off. And if Google could remove pages that do not work at all without JS, I would be in favor of that too.

    The difference is that most pages that use JS still work with it turned off. A site that contains a flash section should still work for a user without flash installed. A flash site will not work at all if you do not have flash installed.

    Oh yeah, what is even worse than sites that require JS or flash are the ones that contain java. What a resource hog that is. I have had some sites bring my system to a crawl just so they can put some bell or whistle on my page.

    rfgdxm1




    msg:105288
     2:20 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

    >Worked fine for me but I am on broadband. That is a problem with wmp, not flash. I'm not sure why they did it though. Even working correctly it was vastly inferior to the rest of the site.

    I haven't had any problems with wmp before, so my inclination is to think that the site is either broken for someone on dial up, or perhaps I hit a temporary server glitch. However, from how large that .avi file seems, with most of the world on dial-up *totally* unacceptable to have that on a site that is designed for live interaction. However, if we exclude the .avi brokeness here, on dial up the pure flash parts were working without any problems on my current 37.3k connection. Thus, my criticism of this site really isn't Flash specific.

    rfgdxm1




    msg:105289
     2:23 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

    >where is HTML? Why can't I only return results in HTML documents and ignore the rest of the garbage?

    Good point.

    Powdork




    msg:105290
     2:47 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

    The difference is that most pages that use JS still work with it turned off. A site that contains a flash section should still work for a user without flash installed. A flash site will not work at all if you do not have flash installed.
    An all flash site should be equipped with flash detection that redirects those without it to an html version which in turn should give you the option of downloading flash or viewing the html version. Flash detection, however is not always accurate and should fall under the category of things that need to be worked on by the design/engineer team.

    Oh yeah, what is even worse than sites that require JS or flash are the ones that contain java. What a resource hog that is. I have had some sites bring my system to a crawl just so they can put some bell or whistle on my page.
    Agreed.

    the_nerd




    msg:105291
     7:07 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Here's a website from the Discovery Channel about Billy the Kid, a fine Flash website with lots of information that is in Flash.

    looks nice. But, the only word I remember after looking at it, is "loading".

    digitalv




    msg:105292
     11:21 pm on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

    There is another problem here with indexing Flash that I don't think anyone has pointed out ... CONTROLLED READING.

    When regular text is spidered and a page loads, I can quickly find that text on the page using my browser's Search or just looking for it with my eyes. I think there is even a find option on the Toolbar.

    So let's say your search results returned what you were looking for inside a Flash document - but it was a 20 minute long FLASH MOVIE with no rewind or fast forward or anything. I'll have to sit there and watch the entire thing just to find the content that was returned based on my keywords.

    THIS is the reason I don't have Flash on my system - I don't WANT to watch your stupid flash movie, if you don't have the content I'm looking for in plain old fashioned text, I'm going somewhere else. One of the great things about Google was that I *knew* when I searched for something that the page was going to contain the text I was looking for. Now it's possible that text might be in a FLASH document, which means I'm going to have to weed through more crap.

    Man, the Quixtar and other MLM losers are going to LOVE that. I can see it now ... they're all sitting there laughing their evil pyramid scheme laughs saying "Muahahaha, now they will have to watch our entire promotional video!"

    Bad move, Google.

    BigDave




    msg:105293
     11:29 pm on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

    There is another problem here with indexing Flash that I don't think anyone has pointed out ... CONTROLLED READING.

    Oh yeah, it was pointed out that you are unable to search the document, or go to the exact screen that you want. Even the pro-flash people admitted that is an issue.

    Please Be Gentle




    msg:105294
     11:39 pm on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Digitalv:"Why can't I only return results in HTML documents and ignore the rest of the garbage? "
    I don't know if this helps but you could use:
    filetype:html OR filetype:htm keyword.
    The advanced search part basically just adds filetype: to the query, so to eliminate flash results you could try the format -filetype:swf keyword
    I don't know if that will serve your needs but hope that helps.
    With Kind Regards
    PBG

    SlowMove




    msg:105295
     11:49 pm on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

    >I don't know if this helps but you could use:
    >filetype:html OR filetype:htm keyword.

    I think using filetype like that would omit files with php or other extensions that are also html files.

    Please Be Gentle




    msg:105296
     11:56 pm on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Fair enough SlowMove, but would -filetype:swf be what he needs or is there something else?
    Kind RegardsPBG

    digitalv




    msg:105297
     12:03 am on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Too much extra work for me ... if it becomes a problem I guess I'll just stop using Google.

    First I'm supposed to install special software to be able to see Flash, and since I refuse to do that, now I have to add extra characters to every search (assuming that would even work) to EXCLUDE it? I'm not into that.

    Am I lazy? Maybe ... and of course I fully support Google's right to do whatever they want with their system. I'm probably also in the minority (no idea ... couldn't care really) so what I want probably won't have anything to do with their decision, and I accept that. It just sucks though :P

    SlowMove




    msg:105298
     12:09 am on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

    -filetype:swf would work, but I'd hate to have to key that in for every search. It should be possible to filter filetypes when setting Preferences. Of course, that doesn't really address SEO.

    Please Be Gentle




    msg:105299
     12:17 am on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

    Thanks SlowMove
    I tested -filetype:swf too and it worked but understandably, he doesn't want to have to key it in for each search either. I'd use the api to set up these type of preferences as I don't think Google has this option in the "Preferences" page but I realize that that would be a lot of effort for some and I'm afraid I can't think of anything else.
    Kind Regards
    PBG

    BigDave




    msg:105300
     12:17 am on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

    digitalv,

    While I agree that google can do whatever they want, I also think that they do care about what users like you and I want.

    Hopefully this will mean that they will be very careful about allowing flash files into the SERPs.

    Powdork




    msg:105301
     3:31 am on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

    digitalv,
    just don't click if you see the [FLASH] tag before the result. The html pages that contain flash files typically do have good navigation and the se usually can take you to the right page.

    If you search Y! for .swf you don't get any flash results.
    Google 1
    Y! 0

    pleeker




    msg:105302
     4:19 am on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

    If you search Y! for .swf you don't get any flash results.
    Google 1
    Y! 0

    Or, depending how you're looking at the scoreboard,

    Google 0
    Y! 1

    :)

    Powdork




    msg:105303
     5:59 am on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

    I don't think your view could change on this one. If you are searching for .swf, you are hoping to find flash files. Google has them, Y! does not. If you don't want to find .swf files, you're probably not going to be searching for .swf.

    Right now, Google has something Y! doesn't. Flash files are not (at this point) winning any important searches, so it's not hurting anyone. But then again, we're getting a bit overdue for one of those "algo change, disappearing site, then fold in new data, more than weeks, less than months" kind of updates.;)

    This 102 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 102 ( 1 2 [3] 4 > >
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