Since 1996, the Shockwave/Macromedia Flash application has been responsible for many animated content presentations on the .
It brings dynamism and interactivity to websites, providing visually appealing and impacting text blended with graphics.
Flash has also been used to develop very powerful, rich Internet applications. All these elements have made it very popular among developers, web surfers and website owners.
Flash has had an inherent shortcoming, however, due to the proprietary nature of the vector-based SWF file format it uses.
This presents a challenge in extracting any meaningful information from websites developed partially, and especially wholly, in Flash. Spiders (automated scripts which browse the Web and read plain text found in HTML) that collect and index web pages are rendered almost useless on Flash sites, and valuable information gets locked away from all but the direct view of a surfer.
Website indexing by is important and allows for more relevant and prominent ranking in search results. An indexed website is found more easily by surfers.
Also, we are in an era where has become extremely lucrative where popular Internet companies, such as Google, use context-based advertising, which relies on content to display relevant ads to Internet surfers.
With these things in mind, it is clear that Flash content would be even more useful if it was accessible to search engines and other content-sensitive applications.
More than two years ago, Adobe acquired Macromedia, and just recently, the company has revealed an initiative to solve this long-standing problem.
Adobe is working with Google and Yahoo, and possibly other search engines, to enable Flash indexing.