Creative & Tech

Google Swiffy Aims to Streamline Mobile Banner Development

July 5, 2011

Last week brought several big announcements from Google, with most of the buzz coming from the launch of their Google+ social network. On the sidelines, however, Google has released a new tool – called Swiffy – which converts Flash files to pure HTML5.

Like Wallaby, Adobe’s own tool for this purpose, Swiffy has some significant limitations, but the fidelity it achieves is fairly remarkable given the complexity of what it does.

Example via

As a test, we recently ran some banners through Swiffy to get a better sense of its capabilities. On one banner, all components functioned as they would in the flash version with the exception of a minor flaw in the rendering of the text, which was lacking colored outlines. A second example also worked relatively well, with the exception of some missing details (shadows and blurs). A small flash also occurs at the beginning of the ad, which was not there in the original version. A third example translated nearly perfectly – and was the most successful conversion of the group.

The big place that Swiffy falls apart, aside from small graphical glitches, is when it comes to complicated user interactions. Nearly any banner with very complicated code behind it will fail to convert entirely.  Nonetheless, there’s definitely promise here. If a banner were designed from the start with Swiffy’s limitations in mind, it’s conceivable that one could run it directly through the conversion process and create a mobile-compatible banner in one step.

It’s not hard to see that this might very well be Google’s goal. Recent estimates show that mobile browsers make up more than 5 percent of all web traffic, and growing. And, of course, Google’s ad network gains a lot of value if advertisers can easily reach those users with dynamic, visually compelling creative.