(Wired) – Some people are calling it Mobilegeddon. That’s a bit of a stretch. But for the Google search engine—something that’s such big part of our daily lives—it’s likely the biggest change of the past three years. And it’s reminder of the wonderfully magnanimous yet deeply selfish way that Google uses its market power to accelerate changes across the rest of the internet.
Today, Google is updating its algorithms so that they consider a site’s “mobile-friendliness” in determining whether it should prominently appear in your search results. Basically, this means that some sites will turn up less often if they aren’t as easy to read or use on mobile phones (the change will not apply to tablets and other devices, Google tells us).
“We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results,” Googlers Takaki Makino, Chaesang Jung and Doantam Phan said in a blog post announcing the change back in February. Last month, another Googler said during a public appearance that the change would have a bigger impact than its “Panda” and “Penguin” algorithm updates, which Google rolled out in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Panda affected about 12 percent of English searches, while Penguin altered four percent.