Adobe Flash Videos
Adobe's Flash videos now searchable through Google
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | 6:18 PM ET
The Associated Press
Internet users will now have an easier time finding sites that rely heavily on the popular Flash video format.
Adobe Systems Inc., the format's developer, has released a customized version of its Flash Player software that allows Google and other search engines to "see" the elements of web pages embedded with Flash content the same way a human would.
Search crawlers, the programs that find and index content for search engines, currently have a difficult time "seeing" non-text formats.
Although they can often index static text and links within basic Flash files, many web pages associated with Flash video are dynamically generated on the fly as visitors view them.
Some are now designed almost entirely in Flash, with menus and other features embedded within the video.
Adobe's new tools help search crawlers navigate dynamic Flash pages more easily.
Google's crawlers, for instance, will be able to click buttons along the way and remember the information for the index.
"Improving how we crawl dynamic content will ultimately enhance the search experience for our users," Bill Coughran, Google Inc.'s senior vice-president of engineering, said in a statement.
Google already is using the new tools and Yahoo Inc. plans to soon.
Adobe intends to extend support to other search engines.
Web designers won't need to make any changes to accommodate the upgrade.
There are limits, however.
Google is indexing only actual text within Flash files — not text presented as images such as the words on a street sign.
So YouTube video clips still aren't covered because they don't contain embedded text.