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August 25, 2008

No More Need to Trash the Flash

Google has delighted web designers the world over with the announcement that they are now indexing Adobe Flash files better than ever before.

Google can now index any kind of textual content embedded in Flash files. They can also discover URLs. From the official Google blog post:

“Q: What content can Google better index from these Flash files?

All of the text that users can see as they interact with your Flash file. If your website contains Flash, the textual content in your Flash files can be used when Google generates a snippet for your website. Also, the words that appear in your Flash files can be used to match query terms in Google searches.

In addition to finding and indexing the textual content in Flash files, we’re also discovering URLs that appear in Flash files, and feeding them into our crawling pipeline—just like we do with URLs that appear in non-Flash webpages. For example, if your Flash application contains links to pages inside your website, Google may now be better able to discover and crawl more of your website.”

The new algorithm was made possible thanks to Adobe’s new Searchable SWF library:

“We’ve developed an algorithm that explores Flash files in the same way that a person would, by clicking buttons, entering input, and so on. Our algorithm remembers all of the text that it encounters along the way, and that content is then available to be indexed. We can’t tell you all of the proprietary details, but we can tell you that the algorithm’s effectiveness was improved by utilizing Adobe’s new Searchable SWF library.”

Great stuff Google!

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