Google is changing smartphone user-agent of Googlebot
Google, the head honcho of search engines is updating their smartphone user-agent on April 18, 2016. Make sure to test your web site to ensure it will allow Googlebot in.
In one of their recent announcement, on the Google Webmaster blog, the team at Google has announced that that on April 18, 2016, they will be updating their user-agent for the smartphone Googlebot crawler.
The user-agent will change from an iPhone user-agent to an Android user-agent, but it should have no impact on 99% of all web sites, according to Google. You can find the full announcement here.
Googlebot smartphone user-agent starting from April 18, 2016
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2272.96 Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
Current Googlebot smartphone user-agent
Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 8_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/8.0 Mobile/12F70 Safari/600.1.4 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
Basically, as reported on other professional sites as well, the main difference you can see here is that Google is replacing the Apple iPhone and Safari string from the user-agent and replacing it with Android and Chrome.
Google said they are making this change so that their “renderer can better understand pages that use newer web technologies.”
“We’re updating the user-agent string so that our renderer can better understand pages that use newer web technologies. Our renderer evolves over time and the user-agent string indicates that that it is becoming more similar to Chrome than Safari. 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.”
Google added that as the web evolved they decided to change the “user-agent string indicates that that it is becoming more similar to Chrome than Safari.” Google said their “evaluation suggests that this user-agent change should have no effect on 99% of sites.”
“Our evaluation suggests that this user-agent change should have no effect on 99% of sites. 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.”
To ensure your site won’t be impacted by this change, use the Fetch and Render Tool in the Google Search Console.