Google now alerts you if a webpage won't work on your device

A new notice will tell you ahead of time whether your device and browser support a certain page.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney


How often do you access a webpage only to find out it won't work on your device? Now Google will try to warn you beforehand.

As of yesterday, the search giant displays a message for search results for specific pages if it detects that the page won't display properly or work correctly on your device. The most obvious examples are the issues related to Adobe Flash. Flash is not directly supported on Apple's iPhone or iPad or on Android devices running version 4.1 or higher. Users who may not be aware of this restriction typically get frustrated when trying to view Flash content.

As part of the headsup, Google's alert will invite users to try accessing the page anyway or learn more about why the page and content aren't supported.

The move by Google isn't simply to help users but also to nudge website developers to update their sites. Since Flash is persona non grata on a variety of mobile devices, Google has been one of many companies urging developers to dump it in favor of HTML5 and other technologies to display videos and interactive content.

Despite its detractors, Flash continues to hang on. But Google's blog post on its new alert also advises developers on how to gravitate toward HTML5 to build sites that are more device-friendly.