More than 98 percent of internet-connected computers have Adobe Flash Flash player installed, but despite this statisic, developers concerned about indexing have thus far been hesitant to incorporate Flash into websites because of the challenge involved in making the content searchable. Search engines are able to index static text and lnks within Flash SWF files, but as Adobe points out , " rich internet applications and dynamic Web content have been generally difficult to fully expose to search engines because of their changing states ," a problem which also exists in other RIA technologies.
To help get over that hurdle, Adobe announced a new initiative with Google and Yahoo to make Flash files more indexable-friendly by search engines. For its part, Google says it developed an algorithm that explores Flash files in the same way a surfer does, " by clicking buttons, entering input, and so on. " Any text visible to a website visitor while interacting with a Flash file is also visible to Google's algorithm. And while Yahoo isn't quite as far along as Google , the collaboration with Adobe means it's now a matter of when, not if, SWF applications become more searchable.
Missing from this latest announcement is any mention of Microsoft and its MSN Search. It remains unclear whether Adobe purposely excluded the Redmond company, which owns Silverlight (a competitng format to Adobe's Flash), or if Microsoft chose not to participate. But regardless of Microsoft's level of involvement, expect to see more Flash content, whether you want it or not.