Thursday, 10 July 2008

Google improves access to Flash

The Google Webmaster blog has outlined ways that they are now developing better access to Adobe Flash files, which have traditionally been very difficult for search engine spiders to index, either for content or to follow links. Adobe has been working with Google and with Yahoo! to improve the performance of these files, which is certainly progress but still doesn't make Flash as accessible as standard HTML content.

Google reports that they are now able to better index text content within all types of SWF files now, as well as identifying URL links and following these to index additional content or page files that may be linked from the Flash file. However, images and video files cannot be indexed in this way. There are also limitations with Flash files loaded through Javascript, as these can't currently be identified and indexed, nor will content loaded from an external source within the Flash file.

Further developments are apparently still underway and this area may improve further in the future, so that Flash developers need to be aware of these requirements if the web content needs to be indexed for search.

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