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Adobe, Google, Yahoo join to open RIAs to search engines

Optimized Flash Player makes SWF Flash file format searchable by Google, Yahoo engines

By Heather Havenstein
July 1, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Adobe Systems Inc. today announced that an optimized Adobe Flash Player will be added to the search engines of Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. under agreements with the two Internet firms. The tool will help the search engines better index dynamic Web content and rich Internet applications (RIA) that include the Flash file format, or Shockwave Flash (SWF).

Although search engines index static text and links within SWF files, it has been difficult to expose RIAs and dynamic Web content to search engines because the applications often change, Adobe noted. The SWF specification describes the file format used to deliver applications in the Adobe Flash Player.

As a result of the partnership between the three firms, pre-existing Flash-based RIAs, including content that loads at runtime, will be searchable without alteration by companies or developers, Adobe said. Google has added the optimized Flash Player to its site already, and its search engine will be able to access SWF files as of today. Yahoo plans to add the technology to a future update of Yahoo Search. A schedule for adding the technology to Yahoo wasn't disclosed.

"[End users] will get better information, more relevant results and have a better experience," noted Justin Everett-Church, senior product manager for Adobe Flash Player.

For example, he noted, an online store can now include prices, additional product descriptions and other data that will appear in runtime search results. "Our goal is to have SWF searchable on every search engine out there in the world," Everett-Church noted.

Designers and Web developers have long been frustrated that content created with Flash has been shrouded from search engines, noted Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of the Search Engine Land blog site. "The changes should help unlock information that's previously been invisible and will likely result in a better experience for searchers," he noted in a statement.

Read more about Web Apps in Computerworld's Web Apps Topic Center.

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