Google today released the first version of Swiffy, a tool for converting Flash content to HTML5, on Google Labs. You can upload a SWF file, and Swiffy will produce an HTML5 version which will run in modern browsers with a high level of SVG support.

It's still an early version, so it won't convert all Flash content, but it already works decently for ads and animations. Google is even offering four examples in the Gallery if you'd rather just see the results before deciding if you want to try the tool.

Swiffy was born last summer, when an engineering intern named Pieter Senster joined Google's mobile advertising team to help the company figure out how to display Flash animations on devices that don't support Adobe Flash player (such as those running Apple's iOS). Pieter made such great progress that Google hired him full time and formed a team to work on the project.

Swiffy uses a compact JSON representation of the animation, which is rendered using SVG and a bit of HTML5 and CSS3. ActionScript 2.0 is also present in the JSON object, and is interpreted in JavaScript in the browser. This representation makes the Swiffy animations only slightly larger than the original SWF files.

Google isn't the only one working on a Flash to HTML5 tool. Even Adobe, which develops and distributes by Flash, is working to give developers the option. Three months ago, Adobe released an experimental Flash to HTML5 conversion tool, codenamed Wallaby, over on Adobe Labs.