Google is making Googlebot evergreen, meaning it will be continually updated every time a new version of Chrome comes out.
Previously, Googlebot was using a web rendering service based on Chrome 41. Now it’s making a quantum leap to Chrome 74.
“Today, we are happy to announce that Googlebot now runs the latest Chromium rendering engine (74 at the time of this post) when rendering pages for Search. Moving forward, Googlebot will regularly update its rendering engine to ensure support for latest web platform features.”
Googlebot was intentionally lagging behind in order to ensure that it’s indexing web pages that are compatible with older versions of Chrome.
However, that was doing a disservice to websites built on modern frameworks with features not supported by Chrome 41.
Google’s Martin Splitt says in an announcement that the upgrade to Chrome 74 means Googlebot now supports over 1,000 new features.
Some of the more notable new features supported by Googlebot include:
- IntersectionObserver for lazy-loading
- Web Components v1 APIs
It’s worth mentioning that Google was just spotted testing an upgraded version of Googlebot less than a month ago:
At @DeepCrawl we've been running tests to catch Google's updated WRS (using a vrs higher than Chrome 41) out in the wild since Google has talked about working on it.
— Ashley @ #io19 (@BermanHale) April 11, 2019
The test was confirmed by Google, but the company would not state when it would be updating its web crawler. It turns out that day is today.
Lastly, Splitt adds that there are still some limitations to the upgraded Googlebot:
Keep checking back for many more Google-related updates this week as the company’s I/O conference runs from May 7-9.