Tag Archive | "Chrome"

SearchCap: Bing Ads Editor, Chrome HTTPS, HomePod & Google Home

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.
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Google’s Chrome browser to drop secure label for all HTTPS sites

In addition, Chrome will mark all HTTP web sites as not secure.
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Google Confirms Chrome Usage Data Used to Measure Site Speed

Posted by Tom-Anthony

During a discussion with Google’s John Mueller at SMX Munich in March, he told me an interesting bit of data about how Google evaluates site speed nowadays. It has gotten a bit of interest from people when I mentioned it at SearchLove San Diego the week after, so I followed up with John to clarify my understanding.

The short version is that Google is now using performance data aggregated from Chrome users who have opted in as a datapoint in the evaluation of site speed (and as a signal with regards to rankings). This is a positive move (IMHO) as it means we don’t need to treat optimizing site speed for Google as a separate task from optimizing for users.

Previously, it has not been clear how Google evaluates site speed, and it was generally believed to be measured by Googlebot during its visits — a belief enhanced by the presence of speed charts in Search Console. However, the onset of JavaScript-enabled crawling made it less clear what Google is doing — they obviously want the most realistic data possible, but it’s a hard problem to solve. Googlebot is not built to replicate how actual visitors experience a site, and so as the task of crawling became more complex, it makes sense that Googlebot may not be the best mechanism for this (if it ever was the mechanism).

In this post, I want to recap the pertinent data around this news quickly and try to understand what this may mean for users.

Google Search Console

Firstly, we should clarify our understand of what the “time spent downloading a page” metric in Google Search Console is telling us. Most of us will recognize graphs like this one:

Until recently, I was unclear about exactly what this graph was telling me. But handily, John Mueller comes to the rescue again with a detailed answer [login required] (hat tip to James Baddiley from Chillisauce.com for bringing this to my attention):

John clarified what this graph is showing:

It’s technically not “downloading the page” but rather “receiving data in response to requesting a URL” – it’s not based on rendering the page, it includes all requests made.

And that it is:

this is the average over all requests for that day

Because Google may be fetching a very different set of resources every day when it’s crawling your site, and because this graph does not account for anything to do with page rendering, it is not useful as a measure of the real performance of your site.

For that reason, John points out that:

Focusing blindly on that number doesn’t make sense.

With which I quite agree. The graph can be useful for identifying certain classes of backend issues, but there are also probably better ways for you to do that (e.g. WebPageTest.org, of which I’m a big fan).

Okay, so now we understand that graph and what it represents, let’s look at the next option: the Google WRS.

Googlebot & the Web Rendering Service

Google’s WRS is their headless browser mechanism based on Chrome 41, which is used for things like “Fetch as Googlebot” in Search Console, and is increasingly what Googlebot is using when it crawls pages.

However, we know that this isn’t how Google evaluates pages because of a Twitter conversation between Aymen Loukil and Google’s Gary Illyes. Aymen wrote up a blog post detailing it at the time, but the important takeaway was that Gary confirmed that WRS is not responsible for evaluating site speed:

Twitter conversation with Gary Ilyes

At the time, Gary was unable to clarify what was being used to evaluate site performance (perhaps because the Chrome User Experience Report hadn’t been announced yet). It seems as though things have progressed since then, however. Google is now able to tell us a little more, which takes us on to the Chrome User Experience Report.

Chrome User Experience Report

Introduced in October last year, the Chrome User Experience Report “is a public dataset of key user experience metrics for top origins on the web,” whereby “performance data included in the report is from real-world conditions, aggregated from Chrome users who have opted-in to syncing their browsing history and have usage statistic reporting enabled.”

Essentially, certain Chrome users allow their browser to report back load time metrics to Google. The report currently has a public dataset for the top 1 million+ origins, though I imagine they have data for many more domains than are included in the public data set.

In March I was at SMX Munich (amazing conference!), where along with a small group of SEOs I had a chat with John Mueller. I asked John about how Google evaluates site speed, given that Gary had clarified it was not the WRS. John was kind enough to shed some light on the situation, but at that point, nothing was published anywhere.

However, since then, John has confirmed this information in a Google Webmaster Central Hangout [15m30s, in German], where he explains they’re using this data along with some other data sources (he doesn’t say which, though notes that it is in part because the data set does not cover all domains).

At SMX John also pointed out how Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool now includes data from the Chrome User Experience Report:

The public dataset of performance data for the top million domains is also available in a public BigQuery project, if you’re into that sort of thing!

We can’t be sure what all the other factors Google is using are, but we now know they are certainly using this data. As I mentioned above, I also imagine they are using data on more sites than are perhaps provided in the public dataset, but this is not confirmed.

Pay attention to users

Importantly, this means that there are changes you can make to your site that Googlebot is not capable of detecting, which are still detected by Google and used as a ranking signal. For example, we know that Googlebot does not support HTTP/2 crawling, but now we know that Google will be able to detect the speed improvements you would get from deploying HTTP/2 for your users.

The same is true if you were to use service workers for advanced caching behaviors — Googlebot wouldn’t be aware, but users would. There are certainly other such examples.

Essentially, this means that there’s no longer a reason to worry about pagespeed for Googlebot, and you should instead just focus on improving things for your users. You still need to pay attention to Googlebot for crawling purposes, which is a separate task.

If you are unsure where to look for site speed advice, then you should look at:

That’s all for now! If you have questions, please comment here and I’ll do my best! Thanks!

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SearchCap: India fines Google, Bing Webmaster Tools login & Chrome on HTTP

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: India fines Google, Bing Webmaster Tools login & Chrome on HTTP appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Is Microsoft Edge Better Than Google Chrome?

If you value your internet browser’s speed and security, you might have to ditch your current one. There’s a new kid on the block, one that claims to be even faster and more secure than the world’s leading browser, Google Chrome.

Currently, the Chrome browser is a lot more popular than its rivals, controlling 58 percent market share. However, Microsoft plans to knock Chrome off its perch with a bold new claim for its Edge browser. The company started its assault on New Year’s Eve by releasing two new ads highlighting Windows 10 Edge’s superiority over Google Chrome in terms of speed, security, and battery efficiency.

The 30-second ads claimed that “Microsoft Edge is up to 48 percent faster than Google Chrome” and also “The faster way to get things done on the web.”

Microsoft also claims that its Edge browser is even safer than the Google Chrome. In the ad, the company points out that “Microsoft Edge blocks 18 percent more phishing sites than Google Chrome,” adding that using Edge is  “The safer way to get things done on the web.”

Apparently, Edge is better on battery life too.

While Microsoft has not exactly explained how it arrived at these two conclusions, it is possible that it may have based its statements on tests done by cybersecurity firm NSS Labs back in October of 2017. Based on the result of NSS Labs’ tests, Microsoft Edge showed the strongest browsing security by blocking 92.3 percent of phishing sites. Meanwhile, Google Chrome managed to block only 74.5 of the sites while Mozilla Firefox had a 61.1 percent block rate.

At the moment, Google has not yet released a statement in response to Microsoft claims.

[Featured image via YouTube]

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Mozilla Launches Firefox Quantum, Poses Real Threat to Google Chrome

Mozilla has been quietly sitting on the sidelines for a while now, content to slowly work on improving Firefox. But the release of the Firefox Quantum shows that the company is now ready to join the big league once again and take on Google’s Chrome.

Mozilla unveiled the new and improved version 57 of Firefox on Tuesday, claiming that the browser is now twice as fast as before. The company also revealed a new user interface (UI) that looks decidedly minimalist.

According to Mozilla executive Mark Mayo, the latest update is the biggest one they’ve rolled out since the company launched Firefox 1.0 in 2004. It’s also the apex of six years worth of research and development, as well as engineering work that ran for about a year and a half.

The Firefox Quantum touts a revamped rendering engine along with a new CSS layout engine. The engine and other components are written in Rust, a programming language developed by Mozilla’s own research group with the goal of increasing speed. Mozilla also claims that Quantum uses 30% less memory than Chrome and that it has been designed to meet the needs of people who surf the internet by switching from various tabs.

Firefox’s release notes also listed changes in active tab prioritization, a switch-over from legacy add-ons to those developed via the WebAssembly API, and Pocket integration. The reworked browser is also sporting a new UI, its first redesign since Firefox 4. The changes in the browser’s UI and UX (user experience) puts significant emphasis on giving it a speed boost.

It’s clear that the new UI compliments the austere look that rivals Edge and Chrome sport. Firefox Quantum integrates the search and address bars in a bid to reduce the clutter usually found on top of the window. A revamped new tab page was also revealed.  

Users in Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the U.S, also quickly noticed that Mozilla has foregone using Yahoo as its default search engine. Instead, the company has reverted back to using Google, its partner and main financier before the two companies had a falling out in 2014. However, Firefox will continue using its default search engine in other countries. For instance, China will still be using Baidu while Belarus and Russia will continue using Yandex.

Mozilla is hoping that the changes Firefox Quantum carries will be more than enough to challenge Chrome and other browsers. But it’s admittedly an uphill battle at the moment. However, Firefox’s stance to be tech neutral and the groundwork it has laid down can make Mozilla’s bid to return to the top easier.

[Featured image via Mozilla]

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Mozilla’s Firefox Quantum Aims to Dethrone Google Chrome as Fastest Internet Browser

Google Chrome, the leading U.S. browser at the moment, is about to face some serious competition up ahead. Mozilla just unveiled an improved version of its browser called the Firefox Quantum touted to be drastically faster than its predecessor and offering browsing speeds said to even surpass that of Chrome.

During the late 2000’s, Mozilla Firefox had one of the fastest user growth among Internet browsers according to Forbes. Unfortunately, the browser’s growth lost steam and is now lagging behind rivals Google Chrome and Apple Safari. Chrome is currently leading the pack in the U.S. with a market share of 44.5 percent followed by Safari at 25.4 percent. Firefox, in the meantime, only managed to secure a 7.4 percent share.

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Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Ad Exploit, Black Hat Tools, Search Console Updates & Chrome Warning

This week in search I covered one possible answer for how the AdSense and AdWords exploit happened…


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Google Announces Launch of Native Chrome Ad Blocker

Search engine giant Google is flexing its muscles once again as it releases an ad blocker that could have far bigger ramifications than just getting rid of pop-up ads.

Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP for Ads and Commerce, announced the Google Chrome Ad Blocker on Thursday in a blog post. He mentioned that some people find pop-up ads annoying and intrusive, which leads them to block all ads, to the detriment of legitimate publishers or content creators out there who consider ads as their lifeblood.

Google is an active member of Coalition for Better Ads, which recently issued a set of standards for the industry in order to improve ad content for consumers.

The new update provides two new major additions:

  • First is the Ad Experience Report, which helps websites better understand the benchmarks set by the coalition. It also provides tips on how to get rid of the annoying ads.
  • Second is the Funding Choices, which allows marketers to reach out to visitors using the ad blocker to enable their own ads.

As for Chrome, Google will employ the ads standard by default. “We plan to have Chrome stop showing ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards starting in early 2018,” Ramaswamy wrote.

The company is already dominating the online ad space, with 49% of the digital revenue. Facebook, meanwhile, cornered 40% of the market. The others are left to scour for scraps from the remaining 11%.

This new tool will only make Google more powerful, since it will wean itself from third-party software like AdBlock Plus by adopting a built-in filtering tool. Ultimately, this will translate to more revenue for the company.

Rich Sutton, chief revenue officer of Trusted Media Brands, said that the main purpose may be to help consumers control their ad consumption. This will pose an additional challenge for marketers to delve into the minds of consumers instead of relying on technological solutions.

With Google’s eyes always trained on what the coalition thinks is a bad ad, Sutton said marketers are hard-pressed to come up with fresh ideas that will engage consumers in a more organic way.

Tapad SVP for Product Preethy Vaidyanathan, meanwhile, said the ad blocker will give the power to dictate what ads consumers see back to Google. And because this tool will be installed by default, those who want to bypass the system will have to pay a premium.

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Microsoft Releases Windows 10 S in Response to Chrome OS Challenge

Microsoft has promised stability and security to users as it launched Windows 10 S, a stripped down operating system (OS), to ward off the increasing threat posed by Google Chrome OS.

The new software is intended as an education tool and the company showed in a demo that the device can accept user logins in around 15 seconds. However, one drawback to Windows 10 S is that users will only be able to install apps downloaded from the Windows Store. This means that executable programs won’t be recognized unless they are listed by Microsoft.

“Everything that runs on Windows 10 S is downloaded from the Windows Store,” Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Windows chief, saidFor those who are worried about being stuck with Microsoft Edge, Myerson clarified that “Windows 10 S will run any browser in the Windows Store,” provided that Chrome or Firefox is listed.

This was the same model adopted by Microsoft on its controversial RT-operated tablets. The software giant stopped production in February 2015 after suffering a paltry reception. PC manufacturers also refused to carry the OS due to restrictions on API access.

Running only native apps to the Universal Windows Program, the Windows 10 S is touted to have a longer battery life. Another advantage for schools is that vulnerabilities in their PCs and IT systems have been eliminated.

While Windows is still the preferred option for PCs and tablets (there are 1.25 billion computers running a version of Windows today), Chrome is quickly creeping up on Microsoft. This would have been unthinkable eight years ago when Chrome OS was first announced.

However, Google invested in improving the performance, speed, and stability of their OS and schools have started to take notice. They then started purchasing Chromebooks, putting a dent in Windows’ dominance of the market. In fact, by May of last year, Chrome-based devices have outsold the Mac for the very first time.

Prices for PCs running Windows 10 S will start at $ 189. There’s also an upgrade option for schools, which need more functionality. They can opt to upgrade to Windows Pro without any additional costs. Home users, however, will have to pay $ 50 for that option.

Along with the purchase of Windows 10 S, schools will also receive free access to Minecraft Education Edition for one year in addition to Office 365 for Education with Microsoft Teams.

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