Adobe has worked with Google and Yahoo to make it possible for the search engines to read text inside SWF files. That’s big news. It significantly lowers the friction around Flash and extends the reach of the search engines into new territory.
As Larry Dignan points out, Flash is already on 98% of Internet connected computers, but they needed to keep pouring on the innovations to deflect Microsoft’s up and comer Silverlight.
Until now, most RIAs have required developers to generate two sets of pages. The first are the ones actually used. The second are static HTML pages that are indexable by search engines. Some tricky moves makes this all transparent to end users and search engines alike, but it is still a tremendous amount of work. Now Adobe has made this easy for Flash/Flex/AIR. There isn’t really anyone to make it easy for AJAX. Presumably Microsoft will see this and have to dive into the same functionality for Silverlight. And Apple, which appears to want to develop their own wheel here (what else is new?) will also have to consider it, although they’re pretty far back in the pack.
I think Flash is awesome, and my biggest gripe has been this issue (for which there are laborious work arounds) and the fact that you can’t get Flash on the iPhone. One down. One to go. Apple, are you listening?
There’s been some skepticism, so Ryan Stewart delves into what the new support lets search engine spiders do. It’s cool!