Up until three months ago, Google had been using a significantly older version of Chromium to render the pages it crawls. When they switched to an evergreen version of Chromium, it enabled its Googlebot crawler to better catch up with modern frameworks and to improve how it renders pages. Google stated that switching to the evergreen version added more than a thousand new features that they could now process and render.
The switch to using evergreen Chromium was well received by webmasters and SEOs, but there was one glaring issue. The tools that webmasters depend on, like Search Console’s URL inspection tool, were still using the old version of Chromium to render pages. That made it difficult to troubleshoot issues related to how Google was crawling pages. For example, if pages were having visibility and performance issues in Google Search, there was no way to see what Google was seeing.
Google adds evergreen Chromium
Google announced today that they had updated some of its testing tools with evergreen Chromium. The tools that were updated were:
- Search Console’s URL inspection tool
- Mobile-friendly test
- Rich results test
- AMP test
Some notable tools that were not included in the update were PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse.
Another significant difference I noticed with the update was the length of the page it returns. If the results are rendered using Googlebot for desktop, the tool provides the majority of the page which you can scroll and review.
Bringing parity to Googlebot and Google’s testing tools will make it much easier for webmasters to troubleshoot rendering issues. It’s an update that’s very much appreciated by the web development community.