Recently I got a call from a client who found a visit from the Google Transcoder in their website’s statistic program. Understandably they were a bit confused. Basically Google sent a Transcoder spider to re-index their front page for mobile search.
A few years ago Google developed the Wireless Transcoder to support viewing Gmail on cell phones. The technology is now being used to “Fix” websites that do not comply with XHTML mobile 1.0 format. Anyone who has tried to surf the Internet on their cell phone can attest to how hard it is to find anything on a non-formated website. More and more websites are slowly adapting the format but not enough to really make the Wireless Transcoder obsolete.
This is what ELC looks like to a mobile user: http://www.google.com/gwt/n?u=www.elc-seo.com
The Wireless Transcoder can be your mobile phones default search engine by using the following link: http://google.com/gwt/n Then all you have to do is enter the website address of the website you want to search. You can also do searches from this page also.
Google’s Wireless Transcoder does streamline a website right down to the barebones. Any form of design is chucked, rather like a text browser like Lynx. Google does have a method to opt out of the service if you already have a mobile optimized version of your website: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35312
If you do not want Google to transcode your web page, you may request that Google redirect the user to an alternate page whenever the user attempts to view the page through the transcoder. You can do so by including the following line in thesection of the HTML file for your page:
link rel=”alternate” media=”handheld” href=”alternate_page.htm”
(make sure you add the < and /> to the tag)
The alternate page should be a mobile-optimized version of the original page or a message informing the user that the site is not available on the phone.
I guess this whole Internet thing is gonna catch on 🙂