Google’s Maile Ohye: a multi-device world – #SMX London Day 1

We are starting the day off with a keynote by Google’s Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead giving a keynote about the latest developments in Google Search. After the introduction of the mobile friendly update it is clear Google has really started focusing on a multi-device world. Today we not only have desktop and laptops, but fridges, smartwatches and cars are connected to the internet 24/7. What are the implications of these developments? Even Google doesn’t know where we are heading.

One of the advantages of native apps is they notify users without any actions needed. This means you can get notified about something you want information about without searching for it. Users don’t mind, they just want their information. In the past Google used just 10 blue links, which they were proud about. They indexed strings and mapped them in search engine result pages. In 2007 Google introduced Universal search: blending news, books, images and videos into one page and make it more easy for users to find relevant results. In 2011 Google, in collaboration with other search engines, introduced This made it possible to define concepts and entities instead of plain simple strings. “Things not strings” was born.

Finally Google was able to give answers since it now is capable of understanding relationships:


But the next steps is taking place right now, offer users to take specific actions: buy flights and get airline information, order a movie or make a restaurant reservation. Google understands informational queries and offers relevant actions.


Search is now a platform, user can interact with it!

Google has been discussing the mobile-friendly update for already 13 months but first wanted to make sure people were able to measure and understand the concept of mobile-friendly. The result of that is the Mobile friendly testing tool and the Mobile-friendly guide: Get started with Mobile-Friendly and better and more clear warnings within Google Webmaster Tools.

Just creating a mobile website to get the mobile-friendly label isn’t enough. It is just one part of bringing a brand to the multi-device world. You can’t just copy your desktop strategy to your mobile device strategy. Create a separate, focused strategy and measure the impact. Iterate and translate to other devices. This process applies to mobile, tablet but also smartwatches and other devices that still have to be developed. It is all about what people are trying to do.

During the Q&A an interesting fact was shared by Maile: Google is testing with a separate mobile index since they have to figure out how to deal with some differences between content on the same URL. Especially with canonicals between desktop and mobile, there are cases known for paginated content that causes Google showing the wrong URL to the users. Expect a separate mobile index within the next couple of months mainly focusing on the difference between the content.

As I wrote this monday, also expect Google to take app content into account: Google and App indexing: how can you benefit from it?. Other factors that will come into play are mobile website speed, annoying content like pop-overs and other type of interstitial content. Similar to Baidu which already has a penalty in place (the Ice Bucket update). Keep your eye on the latest updates by Google since it can developed really fast in the upcoming months and make sure you are doing the right thing with your website and apps!

About Jan-Willem Bobbink

Jan-Willem Bobbink got addicted with online marketing in 2004, since he build his first international webshop when he was 16. He is currently working as Freelance SEO for global clients and is ambassador for Majestic. His blog can be found at and he shares his cycling adventures at CATW!

One thought on “Google’s Maile Ohye: a multi-device world – #SMX London Day 1

  1. Myself, I’m still a strong believer that ‘ubiquity’ is the real focus of the consumer and not mobile. Mobile expanded so quickly because end-users can use the same device in their bedroom as in their living room. Most ‘mobile’ traffic isn’t actually mobile, because it doesn’t occur during transit (so it’s not the ‘mobileness’ people are drawn to, it’s the ubiquity!)

    Because ubiquity is the main focus of consumers (using the same device in all places, being lazy!); I feel that the multi device world is a momentary phase which will exist until THE device encapsulating ubiquity has been created. Who knows, maybe it will just be called an iNet, and people will just have ‘an internet’ to log on to the internet and will no longer think in terms of devices at all.

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