Google’s mobile crawler is no longer an iPhone

Posted on: Thu, 14/04/2016

Google-bot has been crawling the web, caching and analysing your websites, so it’s search algorithm can then rank your website accordingly. Google can pretend to be a desktop or mobile phone to see how your site works on that device. It then alters its search results so if you’re searching from a mobile phone, it will try and give you results from mobile phone friendly websites (hence the big push to get everyone to upgrade to responsive websites). When Google pretends to be a mobile phone it has been identifying itself as an iPhone running iOS 8.3. Well that is about to change.

From 18th April, 2016, Google will change to identifying itself as the new Nexus 5X using Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

Why is this important?

    It’s a different browser (Chrome, rather than Safari). Chrome is more popular and now has 36% share of the market, compared to 18.2% for Safari.
    The Nexus 5X has a bigger screen, so the web pages will display differently to Google-bot. Screen sizes have been increasing so it makes sense to judge a website from a larger mobile phone screen. Most iPhones have a screen size smaller than 5 inches (only 4inches until the iPhone 6 came along), compared to the 5.2in Nexus 5X

Google believes the change will have no affect on 99% of the sites, but this change continues Google’s trend of favouring sites adopting newer web technologies. Google wants to deliver modern, well maintained websites to the people using its search engines.

Is your website letting you down? Ask the experts at Realnet for some free advice. We’re happy to help.

Google’s mobile crawler is no longer an iPhone
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