• http://www.adamdince.com/ Adam Dince

    Great post, Bryson! Keep up the good work and pressure on the mobile experience.

  • daniel imbellino

    I too applaud Google’s actions to notify users of content that won’t work on their device. To answer your question as to why Google doesn’t return more relevant content that usable and remove such content from search results is that, just because content doesnt work on a mobile device doesnt mean that users dont want to visit the site. I’ll explain why! I own a flash games site with over 200 hosted games, and we showcase many of those games on Youtube. Assuming that just because they’re on their tablet they would not be interested in the content makes no sense, thats just not true.

    Often people will view the videos, and click thru to see the actual game, but not just the game, but additional information about the game, including graphics which still work on mobile. Also, alot of our mobile users will visit the game page in question and bookmark it so they can access the game later on their desktop or laptop.

    If Google were to remove the content from search results instead of giving them a warning that the content wont work on their mobile device, then the users themselves have no way to know such content exists. Again, they often entered our site from a mobile device and quickly came back minutes later on their laptops to play our games! People do want to know the content exists.

    Google did the right thing by notifying users before they click a link that such content uses Flash, this saves them time from trying to access such content on their mobile device, and instead they can choose to access from their desktop or laptop. But making content inaccessible makes no sense, its best to inform users vs restricting their access to content.

    It also wouldnt be fair to publishers like me either. Those hosting games today are stuck with Flash, as developers are yet to adopt better web based standards such as HTML5 canvas for developing games. While the technology is readily available, the development world just isnt there yet and has a lot of catching up to do. It will be several more years before we see exceptional HTML5 games that will act as viable replacements for Flash.

    You also have to take into account the users themselves. Removing every flash game from the web would just piss people off, including the tens of thousands who play my own games. They would have to disagree that removing their access would be fair.

  • http://www.brysonmeunier.com/ Bryson Meunier

    Thanks for the comment, Daniel! I appreciate it and agree it’s a complex issue. So complex, in fact, that I’m going to save my response for a future column, where I can use graphics and such. But overall I agree that there is more than one type of search intent for a keyword like “games”, and that those who do play flash games (though they’re dwindling in numbers), do want to find content that they can play on another device, and not necessarily on their smartphone or tablet. However, this a column about optimization, and the optimized business that is ready for the future is both relevant and usable. Once a lot of those types of sites exist, it’s unlikely that searchers will want to find sites that provide a less than stellar experience to multiplatform users, and at that time I would think that sites that serve games on only one type of platform would be on their way out of the search results. It’s already started happening, as I’m sure you’re aware, and as I mentioned above, as the number of Flash games only sites has decreased from the first page of [games] significantly in the last three years, as more and more people are looking for games that work on their phone: http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=flash%20games%2C%20iphone%20games%2C%20android%20games%2C%20ipad%20games&geo=US&cmpt=q More later in a future column. Thanks again for your comments!