Google is on track for mobile search queries to overtake those on desktop this year, and today it took one more step forward in how it is will control that experience on behalf of its users, for better or for worse. The company has announced that it will now flag to its users when websites listed in their search results may have elements that will not show up on a users’ device. That unsupported code today typically results in missing elements and blank screens. To be clear, Google does not say that it will leave out those sites altogether in its search results, or bar you in any way from visiting them.
If you’ve ever been frustrated by visiting a website on your smartphone or tablet and finding it won’t work because it uses Flash, you’ll welcome the latest Google initiative: it is now flagging Flash content in its search results, warning that the site may not work on your device. “Starting today, we will indicate to searchers when our algorithms detect pages that may not work on their devices. For example, Adobe Flash is not supported on iOS devices or on Android versions 4.1 and higher, and a page whose contents are mostly Flash may be noted” As Google notes, Android abandoned Flash support as of Jelly Bean due to reliability, security and performance concerns. Adobe has been forced to issue a succession of security updates to Flash, the most recent being two emergency updates earlier this year. Google says it hopes the move, coupled to Web Fundamentals and Web Starter Kit initiatives for developers will encourage the use of HTML5 in place of Flash.