Swiffy – Google Helping Apple?

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Google has launched a new tool called Swiffy, a Flash conversion tool for Flash animations to move to HTML5.  This has long been the largest negative for many users when adopting an iPad or iPhone – they will not play Flash video, which includes much of YouTube.

It’s likely for that reason – YouTube – that Google went ahead with this step.  The company is very fond of HTML5 and has been a big proponent of its standard, pushing the Chrome browser into compliance in beta testing.  With tablets like the iPad and with the iPhone being the most-adopted smart phone in the U.S., it makes sense for Google to come up with a converter – despite Google’s Android operating system competing with the iOS.

The new tool, Swiffy, is a summer project that an engineering intern took on at Google.  So far, Swiffy can convert most .swf files to HTML5 (via a JSON file) and it works on most animations.  It does not convert Flash-based games and currently does not convert streaming video, but it will do vector graphics, embedded fonts, and timeline animations.

Future plans obviously include Flash-based streaming video and games.  Google is promoting Swiffy only as an experiment right now, but the tool is definitely powerful for a first-time release from an intern.  It is, of course, being built completely on an open standard.


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