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Google Will Keep Googlebot Up-to-Date With the Latest Version of Chrome

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:

  • ES6 and newer JavaScript features
  • 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:

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:

“You should check if you’re transpiling or use polyfills specifically for Googlebot and if so, evaluate if this is still necessary. There are still some limitations, so check our troubleshooter for JavaScript-related issues and the video series on JavaScript SEO.”

Keep checking back for many more Google-related updates this week as the company’s I/O conference runs from May 7-9.

Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Matt G. Southern Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

Google Will Keep Googlebot Up-to-Date With the Latest Version of Chrome

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