Flash content is set to appear in search results with Adobe announcing a partnership with Google and Yahoo to increase the quality of search results of dynamic Web content and rich internet applications (RIAs).
An optimised Flash Player will improve the indexing of the Flash file format (SWF) to make rich internet applications and other dynamic content easier to find by search engines. Google's search engine has already integrated the Adobe Flash Player technology.
Matt Voerman, senior consultant at Adobe Systems said, "Essentially what's happening is that Google are loading and playing SWFs (just as an end user would) in a special version of the Flash Player that allows them to read the display contents as though it were a standard HTML Web page. This special version of the Flash player is designed to run on the server as part of the indexing process. As the code executes, there are special APIs that notify the search engine when something changes and that allow inspection of the textual and other data that would be displayed to the user".
Presently, static text and links within SWF files are indexed; however, it has been hard for search engines to discover dynamic Flash textual content due to its mutable nature.
"In the past developers have been able to use deep-linking (exposing of URLs for distinct parts of a running app), as well as the inclusion of metadata within their SWF content, to enhance the indexing of their content. Additionally, Adobe previously offered a Search Engine SDK which allowed the introspecting of compiled SWFs", he said.
This particular Flash player will not be offered as a stand-alone technology, but as a part of the search engine.
"There are no plans to release this version of Flash player publicly. However, we are currently investigating how we can better productise this technology for other vendors", Voerman said.
An updated future version of Yahoo search is also expected to provide this functionality.