Adobe has launched the first two services in a planned line of online services intended to enhance deployment of Web applications such as games.

Called Adobe Flash Platform Services, the platform features online, hosted services to enable Flash developers to add capabilities to Web applications using a cost-efficient deployment model, Adobe said.

The first service, Adobe Flash Platform Services for Distribution, available today, enables advertisers and content publishers to distribute applications across social networks, desktops, and mobile devices. The Distribution service, created in partnership with social media applications distributor Gigya, allows viral distribution of an application, such as a game, by making applications sharable. Flash and other Web applications can be distributed to different platforms, including social media sites and mobile devices.

Developers using the service can get wide distribution, said Adrian Ludwig, Adobe group manager for the Flash platform. "It can be a challenge to get that large audience" for persons such as a game builder or advertiser, he said.

"To the user [of the Distribution service], what it looks like is exposing a button that says 'share,' and giving the opportunity to select what they want to share," Ludwig said. The Distribution service will be enabled in Flash Professional CS4, Dreamweaver CS4, and Flex technology.

To install a sharable application on a device, a user of the device would receive an SMS message with a link to the application. A Distribution Manager capability based on Adobe AIR can track use of an application. Publishers and developers, meanwhile, can generate revenue through cross-promotion of other Web applications.

A development firm that has employed the Distribution service, Universal Mind, said it has been using it to build a content distribution widget for the Wall Street Journal. "This is going to be for a widget that allows them to disseminate a lot of their [different types of] content," said Brett Cortese, president of Universal Mind.

The Distribution technology "allowed us to really concentrate on other challenges" while enabling distribution of content, Cortese said.

Later this year, Adobe will add a service called Adobe Flash Platform Services for Social, to enable developers to more easily connect Flash applications with the social network of their choice, including Facebook and MySpace. Developers write an application once and it will work on multiple social networks. The Social service will monitor social networks to ensure that network changes do not break applications.

"This recognizes that Flash developers are trying to have their applications connect to a lot of different social services or social networks," Ludwig said.

While the Distribution service is geared to application distribution, Social is for building an application that uses capabilities of social networks around status updates, profile information, and connections.

Adobe Flash Platform Services are hosted by Adobe and partners, with enhanced capabilities offered on a per-usage basis. Adobe plans other cloud services as well.