Update: via The Universal Desktop, it’s getting closer.
Before you’ll get too enthusiastic, it’s not like the next Flash Player will get a real-time Voice-to-Text engine. Instead, Adobe is working on tools to automatically transcribe the speech from a video and embed it into that video metadata when it’s published as FLV (Flash Video). Probably not something that you can’t already, painfully, do manually with the current FLV and it’s metadata. The key point here is simplicity.
This can be used, for example, to easily create subtitles for our videos. But, the main goal of this technology is to let search engines index video content and even deep link into a video relevant time.
Personally I’d prefer a native real-time engine inside the player that weights only 50kb, but, this is also nice
Recently Adobe has been needing to deal with a massive force attacking its main domain of dominance, we can call this domain – the highly interactive web or RIA. I don’t refer to Microsoft SilverLight which is supposed to compete with Adobe Flash on the same ground, but to the brutal MS marketing machine. This machine can make every boy and girl blindly recite fallacious facts and numbly say things like “Yeah, but, SilverLight is search engine optimized”.
It took Adobe some time to understand what it is dealing with, and I think I’ve noticed a change in their PR brutality lately, generating big PR out of small things.
This last SEO announcement from Adobe, which claim that Flash will be more searchable by search engines, might have some substance in it, as opposed to the similar one from Microsoft, but, it’s still mainly a marketing battle. I just hope it doesn’t take too many resources out of the real development of the products.
Google were probably working on their own humanoid crawler that has a broader vision then just the Flash Player and can work with any RIA applications even if its written in AJAX or SilverLight. Apparently searching and indexing RIA is not an easy thing to achieve, and it doesn’t seem that even google has managed to do it yet.
The main problem of indexing Flash websites or any other RIA website, is to understand the context of the data and then link to it directly, aka deep linking. The fact that google can now read the text from within Flash even better then it did before, don’t yet solve that problem.
Even so, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be optimistic, and there is a possibility that this will improved the indexing of Flash content. We’ll have to wait and see.
The promise of google to have a human like understanding of the Internet it crawls has yet to reach reality. My point is that, we should start to expect Optimized Search Engines (OSE) instead of painfully optimizing our content for them (SEO). Currently search engines can’t understand RIA (Rich Internet Application), websites written in Ajax Flash and SilverLight, and the authors of these websites need to invest a lot of resources to make it SEO. As RIA become bigger and more significant part or the Internet daily, what use is a search engine that can’t understand it? It’s the age of obscurity all over again, the age before google.
This clip (02:22) has reminded me of the old promise that google will see and understand the web the same as we humans do, a promise which wasn’t really fulfilled. I know there is a big technological challenge in that, hey google can’t do it yet, but the one that will do it the best might be the next google.
The search engine game might be open again since the late 90th.
I’ve been to a few SilverLight events and read about it on the web, I’ve even played with it a little, and I think it’s very interesting. But, one thing I’ve learned from all of these experiences, beside the fact that the average dot.net developer feels awed when he sees how to create a rectangle with a gradient fill, is that Microsoft is pumping the fallacious fact that SilverLight is SEO (Search Engine Optimized) because it uses external XAML files, which are basically plain XML files. In the last event I were at, the presenter repeated this "fact" with such determination, which made me jump out of my seat with rage, well not really rage :), I’ve just explained it to him nicely why it’s not true. He was more modest with he’s determinations, afterwards.
Even though it’s a known fact that SilverLight isn’t just SEO out of the box, I still see this being repeated all over the web. You should question authority, and shouldn’t believe everything you’re being told, even if it’s Microsoft.
Currently, search engines don’t even bother looking at XAML files, IMHO they won’t start parsing it any time soon. The same way google don’t parse dynamically loaded XML files, since it can’t do much with it, you can’t get much out of a parsed XAML unless your looking for a Rectangle that is positioned at x=0.1232 and y=33.4355.