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Flash to be made visible by search engines.

Adobe is providing an optimized player to Yahoo and Google.

     
6:25 am on Jul 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Adobe Press Release [adobe.com]

Adobe 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.

Key aspect of Flash files the new "special" player will make indexible includes links and text.

Reportedly, Google will be first to utilize the new technology and show results accordingly.

This could be a big shift forward for Flash content if the tech does what Adobe, Google, and Yahoo claim it will do.

It's also notable that MS wasn't included in the partnership.

8:43 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I only skimmed the article, but would be interested to know if this would retroactively work on existing SWF files...at least for the SEs.
Danny Sullivan says:
“The changes should help unlock information that’s previously been ‘invisible’ and will likely result in a better experience for searchers.”
9:29 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We've also got a Google-specific thread [webmasterworld.com] in our Google Search forum.

From what I read on the Google blogs, yes, this technology will be able to probe deeper into existing swf files, but not flv files. Also it sounds like SWFObject implementations may hide swf files from the crawlers, because they will not execute the javascript.

Oh well, the reason I use SWFObject is to have parallel content indexed from vanilla html anyway, so there's no big loss there. Maybe some day I can stop developing two versions of the same content, eh?

9:40 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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thats great news -
think it will update on all older flash applications too.
RIA developers and rich Web content producers won’t need to amend existing and future content to make it searchable — they can now be confident it can be found by users around the globe.
11:15 am on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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How about making it more visible to mobile devices...

I saw an interesting URL the other day on a car. I pulled it up on my iPhone. Nothing came up but a warning saying I needed to install Flash to view the site (which is not yet possible for iPhones). Not even a page title, about us, anything. Nothing was visible. I had no clue what they did, and never will now since I forgot the URL.

1:52 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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More questions thatn answers... (although this is obviously a positive step)

Q1. So will that mean that every site that created an HTML version of their flash content now find they have Dupe content issues?

Answer to

would be interested to know if this would retroactively work on existing SWF files
is in theory yes because the article says:

millions of pre-existing RIAs and dynamic Web experiences that utilize Adobe Flash technology, including content that loads at runtime, are immediately searchable without the need for companies and developers to alter them.

Q2. What happens when a whole site is one big flash file... presumably that will end up as one big "page" on Google, so will Google does over compensate in favour of Flash files? Or will the content message get blurred? I assume the latter and thus good flash design still plays a part?

Q3. The article suggests Google has already started to implement this. Anyone seeing SWF pages jumping into the results?

Dixon.

3:25 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I still think the best technological solution to indexing Flash content is ...wait for it ... re-do in html.
5:14 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I fully agree, elguiri. Just had to re-do a flashed website in html ... They thought they were really tricky and loaded some html-pages with keywords, not even hidden, and just patching the flash-movie over it. needless to say they weren't ranked anywhere they wanted to be but, of course, they also had the worst bounce-rate I've seen so far. Every user who jumped on the site from serps or adwords (yes, they even spent money instead of figuring out their problem) would see the intro (about 4 seconds), then start on the null-information-here-startpage.
between one and two clicks later (but hey, content-fading, yay) he'd get the information he cam for. Needless to say that hardly anyone ever stayed that long. I was brought in on the subject when they "optimized" their adwords campaign, since "we must attract the wrong people, nobody ever calls or writes to make appointments". explaining why the whole idea is messed up took quite a bit of time.
5:57 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Bad move: you can't have "deep links" to flash content, so if the whole web was like this then it would pretty much ruin the whole concept of pagerank as there would be a handful of surface (rather than deep) links. This will also be a boon for spammers - stuff flash with text only visible to the search engines, wonderful idea.
6:08 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It's also notable that MS wasn't included in the partnership.

Could be a blow to MS Silverlight. Lets watch what native support will be included for silverlight for indexing. MS is legging behind further and further in search.

8:23 pm on July 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Could be the worst thing to happen to the internet. I thought bloated table pages were bad for bandwidth; I can't wait for everyone and their cousin to run a flash page instead.

I'm exaggerating the impact, of course; I cannot help it, I loathe flash websites. You can't really bookmark, and so much more effort is placed into presentation than content!

I want content and I want it NOW! Not thirty seconds from now when your page transition animation finishes. Yes, it looks just like a transformer, thanks. Next site.

4:37 am on July 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This could be a big shift forward for Flash content

I really, really hope not.

1:49 pm on July 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I hope someone will write a plugin for firefox named flashblock that will block all the flash crap, just like adsblock does with ads.
I simply refuse to watch more than 2 seconds of a preloader.
1:52 pm on July 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I hope someone will write a plugin for firefox named flashblock that will block all the flash crap, just like adsblock does with ads.

[flashblock.mozdev.org...]

2:18 pm on July 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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NOSCRIPT plugin for Firefox already does this by default.
4:12 pm on July 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This won't affect most developers since hardly anybody makes websites with search engines in mind. I know there are a lot of SEO's out there because all the jobs I apply to seem to hire somebody over me but that is still a very tiny group compared to how many sites are being made without an seo involved.
3:35 pm on July 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You'll like this :-)

The proof you've been waiting for. Google is indexing links even in deprecated versions of flash.

<snip>

[edited by: engine at 4:37 pm (utc) on July 3, 2008]
[edit reason] No urls, thanks [/edit]

5:35 pm on July 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is really nothing new. The fact that Adobe is exposing parts that were previously not exposed is more of an enhancement and WHO KNOWS what security issues it's going to open.

Anyone who wanted to make use of SEO in Flash could simply examine what was getting indexed and use the exposed portions of the Flash to optimize their objects.

[webmasterworld.com...]

There are many more.

IMO I don't know what the hubbub is. Flash is a supporting object, like Javascript. As such, it should have a small role in any page, with or without it the content should be accessible. So let 'em make full "Flash sites." That makes it the developer/client's problem, not us as competitors.

Not much has changed in that respect since 2000 or so.

12:09 pm on July 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

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--Nothing came up but a warning saying I needed to install Flash to view the site (which is not yet possible for iPhones)--

You can already view flash content on S60 phones using Flash Lite. It's very strange that the iPhone doesn't have Flash Lite, because the S60 web browser uses the same webkit core as Safari.

8:27 am on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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this would be huge for korean market in which most sites are very flash heavy.