Well, this is interesting… Google is advertising on its Google Labs page an experimental tool which aims to liberate web developers from the confines of Adobe’s Flash platform. They are calling it Swiffy (sweet) and its sole purpose is to convert Flash SWF files to HTML5. But make no mistake about it – this is about Apple’s iOS gadgets. Google itself says Swiffy lets you “reuse Flash content on devices without a Flash player (such as iPhones and iPads)”. Interesting Apple’s frenemy all of a sudden took it upon themselves to help port Flash content to Apple’s devices.

It’s a web-based tool and we’ve tried it on several relatively simple Flash animations, the ones usually seen running as annoying adverts on web sites. Surprisingly, Swiffy did quite a good job converting sample SWFs to HTML5, sans custom fonts that didn’t translate well into HTML5. Just don’t expect the latest Flash games and heavy project with lots of interactive features to translate smoothly or port at all.

Google itself is downplaying the importance of Swiffy, saying you shouldn’t expect miracles. “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,” the company noted.

Those limitations pretty much rule out complex and modern Flash applications. Even though Google worked closely with Adobe to enable its search engine to crawl content hidden in proprietary .swf files scattered across the web, they’ve been making steps to liberate the web from Flash videos nonetheless. YouTube, for example, now streams clips in H264 to supported browsers and they’ve been drumming up their own royalty-free container for web video and audio dubbed WebM.

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com

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