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Adobe boosts Flash media search with Google and Yahoo!

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Adobe Systems is working with Google and Yahoo! to improve the accuracy of searches for Flash ads and media by delivering an optimized version of its ubiquitous player.

Google is today expected to start offering searches of media content using a version of the player that'll help search engines index content using Adobe's Flash file format (SWF). Improved search from Yahoo! has been promised, although, as yet, there is no shipment date.

Adobe told The Register it's talked to different groups inside Microsoft to use the version of Flash Player with that company's struggling Live Search service. No agreement has been reached, and negotiations are no longer active, Adobe said.

Microsoft of course has a corporate axe to grind with Adobe. Microsoft has an online media content creation and runtime environment alternative to Adobe's Flash and AIR, called Silverlight. Not so long ago, it also attempted to rival PDF with XML Paper in Office.

At the heart of Adobe's offering is what it called an "optimized" version of Flash Player that sits on a search engine's server and checks for Flash at the same time as HTML. The player contains APIs to simulate the firing up of the content on a web page as part of the search. Without this, search engines can only index static text and links within SWF files.

Eric Wittman, director of client distribution and business development for Adobe, said improved SWF search would help users of Google and Yahoo! find content like ads authored in Flash.

That's important for Adobe, since it's trying to increase the appeal of Flash and AIR as media content authoring and runtime environments in the era of rich internet applications (RIAs).

As such, Adobe cannot afford to have certain content sitting in isolated pools outside of search engine results. It's also important for search companies like Google that rely on revenue from online ads.

Improved indexing and search of ads written for Flash means ads could be pulled back and displayed rather annoyingly down the right-hand side of a search page along with other paid ads that come back when users do a key-world search. What a feature. ®

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