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Google Swiffy: A Tool to Watch?

Google recently did a house cleaning. Some Google products have been discontinued and others have graduated to bigger and better things. One of the products chosen to live and prosper is Google Swiffy, and it would appear this conversion-centric product has legs.

Google Swiffy converts Flash SWF files to HTML5, allowing you to reuse Flash content on devices without a Flash player (such as iPhones and iPads). In order to convert your files from Flash SWF to HTML simply upload your SWF file to the Swiffy website and hit upload and convert, easy as that.

Google Swiffy
Google Swiffy

According to Google, Swiffy currently supports a subset of SWF 8 and ActionScript 2.0, and the output works in all Webkit browsers such as Chrome and Mobile Safari. In some cases exporting your Flash animation as a SWF 5 file might give better results.

Swiffy is a fairly new product and it does seem to have a few quarks at the moment. For instance, Swiffy outputs in SVG format that is only supported by browsers such as Safari, Google Chrome and FireFox 5. Early versions of FireFox do not always support this format. Internet Explorer users may have to install the Adobe SVG Viewer to be able to view SVG in the browser. For those of you who don’t know, SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics, a standardised format for vector graphics. SVG seems to work well with HTML 5 which is in all probability the reason it was chosen as the output format.

The good news is that Abode seems to like Swiffy, as they are pleased to see Flash content extended to devices that don’t support Flash.

What is interesting about Swiffy is it seems to be a further attempt by Google to move away from Flash. At this point, they are less focused on finding ways to index Flash content, beyond means already provided such as crawling textual content in SWF files, and more focused on providing new ways to convert the information.

Swiffy is a Google tool to watch. With the current buzz around HTML5 it could be a valuable resource for web developers. Furthermore, the output of content in HTML5 may prove to be better for SEO than semi-restricted attempts at SWF optimization.

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