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Adobe's Flash product may be one of the most widely used platforms for creating content on the web, but web content today is only as good as the number of people who see it. To help encourage the act of sharing, Adobe announced Monday a new product called Flash Platform Services for Distribution.

Adobe says the online distribution service allows developers to make their applications compatible with most social networks and mobile operating systems, and will make content more easily shareable by users.

As Mitch Green, Director, Product Management, Adobe points out: "Once applications are social, they go everywhere."

Letting users share content is a major requirement for Adobe's continued success. 70% of online video is delivered in Flash and 80% of online games, but sharing Flash content is not always easy. The iPhone in particular has been a sticking point for Adobe as it does not yet support full Flash features.

But Adobe has now partnered with Gigya, a startup that helps developers distribute applications as widgets, to help make Flash creations more user friendly on social networks. The option to make applications shareable was already available to developers, but Gigya will make it much easier to do so without the use of complicated code. In addition, social network users can share Flash applications with or without advertising.

Adobe wants to make an even bigger play in social media and points out that 82% of the U.S. participates in social media. "It's the place where most Internet users start and end their day," says Green. "It is the center of their online experience."
Flash and Gigya support over 70 social media destinations at launch and expect more going forward.

Adobe is also interested in inserting itself in platfrom compliance. A spokesperson told me last week that Adobe wll have a social service later this year that will make sure apps created with Flash are functional across social media platforms:

"Today, if you are a developer who's trying to integrate application with social networks, life isn't easy for you."

The company is willing to take on the burden of keeing APIs functional and up to date across platforms because it wants to be an integral player in content creation online for years to come.

That's why the company is also shifting into data tracking. The Distribution Manager will also keep track how often an application is installed and many times it is used. Data services are clearly an interest area for Adobe, as the company has just offered $1.8 billion to buy analytics firm Omniture.

According to Adrian Ludwig, group manager for Flash: "The push toward services and providing support for measurement is something we have actively been pursuing for awhile now. This initiative — and others in the company — is to help people get the most value they can out of the platform."

Meghan Keane

Published 21 September, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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