Google Updates Smartphone User-Agent of Googlebot

Chris CrumSearch

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Google announced that in April, it will update the smartphone user-agent of Googlebot. The company says the update is so that its renderer can better understand pages that use newer web technologies.


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"Our renderer evolves over time and the user-agent string indicates that that it is becoming more similar to Chrome than Safari," says Google software engineer Katsuaki Ikegami. "To make sure your site can be viewed properly by a wide range of users and browsers, we recommend using feature detection and progressive enhancement."

"Our evaluation suggests that this user-agent change should have no effect on 99% of sites," Ikegami adds. "The most common reason a site might be affected is if it specifically looks for a particular Googlebot user-agent string. User-agent sniffing for Googlebot is not recommended and is considered to be a form of cloaking. Googlebot should be treated like any other browser."

Google suggests checking your site with is Fetch and Render Tool (in Search Console) if you think your site might be affected.

The change will take place on April 18.

Image via Google (Facebook)

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.