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Google Declares War on Flash-Heavy Mobile Sites

by Jacob Kleinman | July 15, 2014July 15, 2014 11:30 am PST

Google Nexus 5-Google Now Voice Prompt

Google wants to make sure you have the best experience possible using its search app on your smartphone and, starting this week, the company will warn you when a site won’t load properly on your mobile device. The main culprit here is Adobe Flash, which isn’t supported by iOS or recent versions of Android, though that’s not the only way to get on Google’s blacklist.

The update takes the form of a small line of text in your search results, which Google plans to scan automatically using a set of algorithms. If the company spots a problem, you’ll see something like this show up on your device:

google search copy

Google explained how developers can create a website that works best on any smartphone or tablet. The company recommends using HTML5, which is supported by all devices, and offers a guide for building a responsive web design that looks good no matter what screen you’re using. Finally, Google warns developers not to block its own web-crawling bots, suggesting this may be another way to get blacklisted in mobile search.

Google’s search domination allows it to dictate what surfaces in results, which means it’s crucial for sites that are dependent on search to pay attention. A simple warning like you see above seems rather non-intrusive, but what if Google starts deleting non-compliant websites from its search results altogether? Even if the end result is a better user experience, we’re not convinced that Google always knows what’s best.

Google

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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