Google's search engine crawler to stop identifying as an iPhone come April

Posted:
in iPhone
Starting April 18, the smartphone user-agent of Google's search engine crawler -- Googlebot -- will no longer identify as an iPhone running iOS 8.3, according to the company.




Instead the agent will identify as a Nexus 5X running Android 6.0.1, Google explained in a blog post. Googlebot is the code that analyzes sites on the Web, its data eventually filtering into ranked results seen when a person runs a Google search.

The user-agent is being updated so its renderer can "better understand pages that use newer web technologies," the company explained. "Our renderer evolves over time and the user-agent string indicates that it is becoming more similar to Chrome than Safari."

The change isn't likely to affect most websites or developers, but does appear to reflect trends, and could mean that Google searches will favor newer Web standards.

Although iOS and Safari have a large presence online, the sheer number of Android devices helps give them and Chrome a bigger footprint. Chrome is also multi-platform, though on iOS it's limited to the same rendering engine as Safari.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    Just another attempt to use the search engine as a way to leverage away from the competition. 

    The only real reason for this. 


    sockrolidbaconstanggtrjoshvanhulst
  • Reply 2 of 15
    I quit using Google a year ago.
    londormagman1979joshvanhulst
  • Reply 3 of 15
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Just remember to clear out all the Google cookies and caches from Safari periodically.

    Preferences -> Privacy -> Details -> search for "goog" -> delete.
    Takes 2 tries.  I just deleted 7 Google caches.

    Also remember that 97% of Google's revenue comes from ads.
    All their other software projects (and self-driving cars) are either freeware used to crush competition or PR stunts.
    baconstangjony0EsquireCatsirelandjbdragonpatchythepirate
  • Reply 4 of 15
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,763member
    AppleInsider said:

    ...but does appear to reflect trends, and could mean that Google searches will favor newer Web standards.
    I know for a fact that newer or older web technologies makes little difference in ranking. I have a really old plain old html webpage that has ranked #1 for the last 16 years for some fairly common search terms of which the page is about. We also have a Mobile version. It is true that Google does give points though, for responsive designs which can flow and reposition the content depending on the device screen size. Other things that improve your ranking are how many other sites link to your page, how long the page has been on the web and how many times it has been clicked in a Google search.

    Things that hurt your ranking are bad html that does not validate, use of Flash, malware, known untrustworthy domains, self signed certificates, using keywords that are not on the page, mention of competitor's name in the meta data, etc. Newer web standards can also be misused or generate poorly formatted code just as much as older web standards can. Ranking is all about being a really good page, not so much the technologies used.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 5 of 15
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,112member
    I quit using Google a year ago.
    Good for you. Practically everyone else in the world still uses it.
    singularityafrodrigatorguy
  • Reply 6 of 15
    auxioauxio Posts: 1,951member
    I quit using Google a year ago.
    Good for you. Practically everyone else in the world still uses it.
    Good for them if they don't care about privacy.  They're the very reason why the FBI could succeed.
  • Reply 7 of 15
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 337member
    duck duck go for me. works fine. maybe not as pretty at the google.
    pscooter63baconstangfotoformatmagman1979irelandjbdragonpatchythepirateicoco3am8449
  • Reply 8 of 15
    jdgaz said:
    duck duck go for me. works fine. maybe not as pretty at the google.
    It's just slower. Users who give Google full access and frequent use get suggestions that are borderline amazing, and searches are so fast that you often don't even have to execute the search -- the answer will be in a suggestion. There's a tradeoff of privacy vs. convenience here, and they're excelling at leveraging both.
    gatorguyafrodri
  • Reply 9 of 15
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    Just another attempt to use the search engine as a way to leverage away from the competition. 

    The only real reason for this. 


    It's kinda difficult to say that the user agent of a search engine even matters. Most websites just see "GoogleBot" and just strip the the parts of the site that they don't want Google crushing the site with. For example, on some sites I operate, we send Google past the "Cookies are required to proceed" process so it can index the page but not the paywall content.
    afrodri
  • Reply 10 of 15
    tenlytenly Posts: 707member
    volcan said:
    AppleInsider said:

    ...but does appear to reflect trends, and could mean that Google searches will favor newer Web standards.
    I know for a fact that newer or older web technologies makes little difference in ranking. I have a really old plain old html webpage that has ranked #1 for the last 16 years for some fairly common search terms of which the page is about. We also have a Mobile version. It is true that Google does give points though, for responsive designs which can flow and reposition the content depending on the device screen size. Other things that improve your ranking are how many other sites link to your page, how long the page has been on the web and how many times it has been clicked in a Google search.

    Things that hurt your ranking are bad html that does not validate, use of Flash, malware, known untrustworthy domains, self signed certificates, using keywords that are not on the page, mention of competitor's name in the meta data, etc. Newer web standards can also be misused or generate poorly formatted code just as much as older web standards can. Ranking is all about being a really good page, not so much the technologies used.
    You're using backwards looking facts to rebut forward looking speculation.  The whole point of the sentence you are replying to is to suggest that the ranking formulas "may" change in the future.  What happened in the past is not necessarily relevant.
    edited March 2016 afrodri
  • Reply 11 of 15
    raz0rraz0r Posts: 28member
    jdgaz said:
    duck duck go for me. works fine. maybe not as pretty at the google.
    It's just slower. Users who give Google full access and frequent use get suggestions that are borderline amazing, and searches are so fast that you often don't even have to execute the search -- the answer will be in a suggestion. There's a tradeoff of privacy vs. convenience here, and they're excelling at leveraging both.
    Trade off of privacy versus convenience? That's not a very good trade.
    Duck Duck Go isn't very good (in my case) at finding relevant searches. So I found something that is, and I don't have to sacrifice my privacy to use it. Ever heard of https://startpage.com ? It uses Google underneath, but it also acts like a wall between you and it. Fun stuff :)
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 12 of 15
    lostkiwilostkiwi Posts: 582member
    raz0r said:
    It's just slower. Users who give Google full access and frequent use get suggestions that are borderline amazing, and searches are so fast that you often don't even have to execute the search -- the answer will be in a suggestion. There's a tradeoff of privacy vs. convenience here, and they're excelling at leveraging both.
    Trade off of privacy versus convenience? That's not a very good trade.
    Duck Duck Go isn't very good (in my case) at finding relevant searches. So I found something that is, and I don't have to sacrifice my privacy to use it. Ever heard of https://startpage.com ? It uses Google underneath, but it also acts like a wall between you and it. Fun stuff :)
    Yeah I use it on the Mac.  It works really well.  
  • Reply 13 of 15
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,368member
    I quit using Google a year ago.
    Good for you. Practically everyone else in the world still uses it.

    It's not a black and white situation. Tons of people don't use it, and some people, like me, try not to use it, but I'm not blind to the fact that it's definitely good in terms of results. I use DuckDuckGo as my primary, but when I really need good results, I jump to Google. #fact

    Interestingly, Apple will be using Google Cloud Services as part of the iCloud infrastructure.

    Can't escape Google no matter what we try. :wink:  
  • Reply 14 of 15
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,763member
    tenly said:

    You're using backwards looking facts to rebut forward looking speculation.  The whole point of the sentence you are replying to is to suggest that the ranking formulas "may" change in the future.  What happened in the past is not necessarily relevant.
    I've never read anywhere that using "newer" web standards has any affect regarding SEO with the one exception that I mentioned regarding responsive layouts.
  • Reply 15 of 15
    You can always use DuckDuckGo.com or Startpage.com to do anonymous searches through Google's search engine.
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