Google browser sighting?


Silicon Valley Watcher says they have seen the tracks of the Google Browser. They don't show the full user agent though, so maybe their log analyzing software just got confused by the Google WAP Gateway or some such?

A few non-Googlebot Google useragents:

  MOT-A835/70.20.18. MIB/2.2 Profile/MIDP-1.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.0 (Google WAP Proxy/1.0)
  Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1),gzip(gfe) (via
  UP.Browser/ (Google CHTML Proxy/1.0)

It's also curious the Googlebot sometimes is pretending to be Mozilla. Or was it someone modifying the User-Agent?

 Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; rv:1.7.3; Googlebot/2.1) Gecko/20040914 Firefox/0.10.1

update: As Phil in the comments and Mark Bracher pointed out while I was writing the entry: If they are working on a Google browser they'd not call the User-Agent "Google".


There are way too many people with too much time on their hands and a copy of the User Agent Switcher Extension installed on Firefox to pay any attention to reported UAs. Witness my current one ;)

(And the one thing I can say for sure about the UA string for any hypothetical alpha Gbrowser is that it won't include the letter G other than maybe as a part of spoofing Gecko. They aren't that sloppy about hiding their tracks.)

Lets not forget the uproar that happened when they were caught registering

They also have gotten into bed with firefox and have been hiring away some of the MSIE engineers.

However, lets also keep in mind that these could be tests being run by scripts (signifying "Mozilla" could allow them to catch cloakers or to trigger innocent behavior that relies on that string in the user-agent) or even browser toolbars (which also modify the UA).

Spoofing is also a possibility. Someone could have easily created this user-agent and started browsing. I see no references to any IP addresses that were logged, for example.

I've occasionaly disguised my browser as the googlebot, for example when I was investigating a site that gave completely different content to googlebot than to other user agents.

and, btw, here's a followup to that news article

That sure looks like google proxying for some WAP phone, which is a known, supported google feature.

I just saw a "Google 4.0" id on my blog's hit-counter. There's an IP number, too. Here's my counter URL. Have a look. I found this thread Googling "Google 4.0 browser." Let me know what you think?

Or perhaps it has something to do with

I found that kind of browser in my stat too. I tried to search the download page, but I found your page.

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This page contains a single entry by Ask Bjørn Hansen published on April 20, 2005 2:29 PM.

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