Flash indexing with external resource loading

Friday, June 19, 2009

We just added external resource loading to our Flash indexing capabilities. This means that when a SWF file loads content from some other file—whether it's text, HTML, XML, another SWF, etc.—we can index this external content too, and associate it with the parent SWF file and any documents that embed it.

This new capability improves search quality by allowing relevant content contained in external resources to appear in response to users' queries. For example, this result currently comes up in response to the query 2002 VW Transporter 888:

a search result with the query bolded

Prior to this launch, this result did not appear, because all of the relevant content is contained in an XML file loaded by a SWF file.

To date, when Google encounters SWF files on the web, we can:

  • Index textual content displayed as a user interacts with the file. We click buttons and enter input, just like a user would.
  • Discover links within Flash files.
  • Load external resources and associate the content with the parent file.
  • Support common JavaScript techniques for embedding Flash, such as SWFObject and SWFObject2.
  • Index sites scripted with AS1 and AS2, even if the ActionScript is obfuscated.

If you don't want your SWF file or any of its external resources crawled by search engines, please use an appropriate robots.txt rule.