Google began indexing the text context of Flash animations, movies and interfaces in Web pages a few months ago. But no Google improvement is complete until the professional SEO's document how to game the system. Here's the first well-done guide to getting your world class Flash content the placement it deserves on the Internet. Author Brian Ussery steals one of Google's best tricks: If you're going to tell a bunch of techies how to lie, blanket it in soothing geek imagery by using examples tied to science. NASA is good. Executive summary for globalists: "Google doesn’t seem to translate text content in Flash files, especially when text is supplied by a server or some other third party source." So it's kind of Speak English or Die for now.
Yes, all anyone can talk about are Apple's new laptops. Always prone to squandering a PR opportunity, Microsoft is set to debut the next version of its answer to Adobe's Flash — Silverlight, the video player everyone talks about but no one has installed. Silverlight 2.0 has
digital rights management software to power multimedia sites, skinning capabilities for the player, deep zoom, as well as finally Mac and Linux support for Firefox and even Chrome a long list of features that don't matter. [PC Magazine]
A senior Adobe engineer confirmed the obvious at a Flash developer's conference in England that yes, they're building a Flash player especially for the iPhone. Paul Betlem from Adobe balked at saying the app was sure to be built into Apple's Safari browser that ships with the phone, but it seems a certainty. Flash websites and video clips are no longer the "Skip Intro" bane of the Web. Apple went out of its way to enable YouTube on the first iPhone. Enabling the iPhone to work on any Flash-based website seems the obvious next step in removing the functional differences between phone and laptop. (Photoillustration by Jackson West)
Amazon.com's Video On Demand service, which allows you to preview and purchase streaming videos online, uses Adobe's Flash Media Server to deliver the video. Late last week, Reuters reported that hackers had discovered an exploit that would allow users to turn the free preview into the full stream, allowing folks to watch movies for free using software like Replay Media Catcher from Applian. Adobe took issue with Reuters' contention that Flash isn't secure — instead suggesting it was Amazon's fault for not enabling various security options such as streaming encryption and player verification. Why did Adobe choose to blame a customer instead of quietly fixing the problem behind the scenes? Probably seemed easier.
While Amazon.com makes no claims as to the quality of video from its new "video on demand" online streaming service being comparable to DVD quality, a measly 1.2 megabit-per-second data rate is still laughable. To put it in perspective, standard-definition DVDs typically run well over 6Mbps (Apple, also risibly, calls the 5Mbps offerings from iTunes "HD," purely based on pixel dimensions and not data depth). And based on your connection speed, Amazon might deliver even less digital resolution. All of this for up to $14.99 to "own" a movie stored wrapped in Adobe's Flash copy protection. Granted, Amazon is hindered by the slow broadband connections typical in American households, but keeping the bitrate low also keeps bandwidth costs down — and margins high.
Silverlight, Microsoft's buggy effort to tackle Adobe's Flash video technology, has another hiccup on the road to mass acceptance. Gotuit, a video-technology startup, has filed suit against Microsoft for patent infringement. Gotuit will be represented by Spencer Hosie, a law firm which has tangled with Team Redmond before and managed to squeeze out a $60 million settlement for Burst.com. Don't even know what Silverlight is? Read the primer so you can bluff your way out of a gaggle of Google employees. [News.com]
Year-over-year revenues are up 19 percent at Adobe in the most recent quarter, driven mostly by sales of the new CS3 versions of popular applications such as Photoshop. (Even bloggers use it!) But there was little growth in revenues derived from mobile markets as the company struggles to make its Flash Web-video technology the go-to media software for phones and other devices. On the iPhone front, the company has Flash running on an emulator, but in Cupertino, Apple is developing its own alternative. [ZDNet]
The latest iteration of Joost, the once-hot, now decidedly not video startup from the people who brought you Skype, will work in your browser — but only if you download a plugin from Joost. And while Joost struggles to find good content, Adobe is rolling file sharing into its Flash player, beating Joost's new plugin to the punch. NBC has worked with file-sharing content delivery platforms in the past, and Hulu — a site backed with quality content — uses Flash. I'm sure the Joost developers are tech whizzes, but even our journalist math puts them on the wrong side of this equation. (Photo by Job D.)
Cat-loving software developer Brent Simmons parses a lot of error logs maintaining NetNewsWire, an application for reading RSS feeds, and it's a fine perch on which to spot trends online. Lately he's been seeing more and more browsers borked by Microsoft plugin Silverlight, the software giant's tragically late multimedia competitor to Adobe's Flash. This could be a good sign for Microsoft in terms of a growing user base, but personally I've yet to see an installation of Silverlight in the wild, even on regular trips to Microsoft Country. I'm guessing the problems are more likely due to bloated code, a monopolist's tendency to ignore industry standards, or both. Simmons, for what it's worth, wishes a pox upon both houses because users blame his product when the big-shots' bugs cause problems with his product. (Photo from Brent Simmons)
The best thing about Facebook is that it isn't a blinking mass of glittery images and horrendous, unreadable "designs," right? Perhaps not for long. Now application developers can use Adobe's Flash in their work. This will be nice for musicians who want to embed their music or whatever, but how long until auto-play emo starts blasting from my speakers while I'm trying to
stalk catch up with old acquaintances? Please, Mark Zuckerberg, I beg of you: Keep these people in line. God forbid Facebook ever become as ugly — or as popular — as MySpace.
Software giant Microsoft is getting the attention of the geek blogosphere for moving its drag-and-drop Web mashup development tool, Popfly, into public testing. Why? Because it has a cute name? Because it's being pitched to everyday Internet users who aren't developers — women, even? (As if women don't program now.) Because it's being pitched as an easy way to build widgets for popular social networks MySpace and Facebook? For all those reasons, sure. But that's not why you should care about Popfly.