Earlier this week, Adobe made public the news that they had provided Google and Yahoo! with a tricky special version of the Flash Player, which in turn will allow them to dig inside the thousand of Flash enabled Web sites out there and crawl inside them in order to pull out more relevant information that what they previously could.
The world, though, has not changed that much from the day before the announcement, at least not as I write this down. Google has had access to the to the SWF composition for years now; only now they've been rumored to have paid Adobe a license fee to access the source code for the Flash Player in order to emulate real humans interacting with the content, or is that Ryan who is doing the work?
But then people has been asking, where does Microsoft stand today with Silverlight? As of what I know there hasn't been any comments (at least not public) on this topic.
Microsoft has .XAML and the .XAP extensions, the second been just a zip file renamed; which pretty much are open for anyone to consume, crawl and index; all this available to the world from day 1. XAML at its end is XML and it remains XML once deployed (different to MXML that gets pre-compiled to AS3 and later to binary format for it to be published); which could allow savvy developers to XLST the markup to XHTML, provide a site map as per normal practices and best part, one the content owner, will have the chance to decide what the bot gets to see and what remains invisible.
An approach similar to this was put into test by Ted Patrick about a year ago with its Flex Directory, he tried to make the content of the application SEO friendly, thus exposing it as an XML document with an associated XSLT that will then put a Flex presentation layer in front that will consume the data recursively (by making a call to itself) and thus rendering the contents to he user as a user friendly application. Problem was there was no deep-linking mechanism supported.
As for deep linking, same principals apply here for both Adobe and Microsoft; you still need to figure out how your end users move in and out of the solution you’ve built. This still requires a RIA Architect to decide how this composition comes together. Google is unlikely to automate this for us, as in the end this is what the sales pitch during this week has been.
As I read somewhere in the Web, there is more to this than what has been covered. Here is how I see it:
The problem at hand still remains unsolved (so don't think on throwing that SWFObject nor the SWFAddress code away, just yet), all that happened really is Adobe took out some insurance to keep the .SWF extension relevant through the welcoming arms of Google and Yahoo!
As for Live Search? Adobe told The Register that they had talked to different teams at Microsoft to use the version of Flash Player with their Live Search service. No agreement has been reached, and negotiations are no longer active.
But just as Ryan says,
And making echo of Steven Hodson from Mashable!
Search is not - or should not be - about the companies. It should be about all the companies being able to provide the best results they can to anyone who wants to use any search engine they choose
Time is early in this game and lots of plays has to be undergone before we really see clearer into its results; the ball has been put on the move and it's for the rest of us to make the most of it.
As for the rest staying with the good old XHTML Web, you make want to give Aggiorno a try, as from where I see it's the only magic going on right now.
Have you got a Crystal Ball to see what's next?
Update: and when I thought I was the only one with this on me head, I found this posts laying around