In a major step forward in search technology, Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) is working with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) to make Flash files searchable in online search. The project will enable searches on Flash content to return text and links, which can then be indexed, and hence available in search results for the users. Content from a Flash application or even a game or advertisement will be available to search engines, reports InfoWorld. Pages containing a Flash .SWF file will be returned in a search. Google has already implemented this, while Yahoo, ever the laggard, will enable Flash search in a future version, whenever that comes out.
As for images and video, no luck yet. From Google’s own description: “If your Flash files only include images, we will not recognize or index any text that may appear in those images. Similarly, we do not generate any anchor text for Flash buttons which target some URL, but which have no associated text. Also note that we do not index FLV files, such as the videos that play on YouTube, because these files contain no text elements.”
No plans were disclosed for other search engines like MSFT’s Live.com or Ask.com, but expect them to be enabled at a later date…MSFT might take a while, though, since it has its own Flash competitor Silverlight, and has its own motives on not surfacing Flash fils in results.
Among the beneficiaries will be the fancy e-commerce/transactional info sites who use Flash to develop their shopping site and product pages, whose results will now crop up in the search results…and this may even lead to some new SEO tricks, who knows…
Some more details in release here.