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I saw that Google had a nice proposal/standard for making Ajax applications crawlable, via #! (hash bang).

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/10/proposal-for-making-ajax-crawlable.html

My questions are:

  • Are they currently using this "proposal" in the real world already?
  • Are other search engines -- Bing specifically, also using or planning on using it?
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4 Answers

As an update, this protocol is fully supported now on Google. However, Bing does not support the protocol at this time.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It appears to me that this is more than just a proposal - that Google is already using this protocol.

I found more info here. They have enough docs and FAQs on the subject that refer to websites actually being crawled this way already...

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That's just explains the technologies which frameworks like JQuery use to make the content readable when JS/ECMA is disabled. This is no challenge for a respectable Crawler. :-) –  fwa Aug 7 '10 at 13:39
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I just corrected the 2nd link above. If you look at it, you'll see that the #! syntax is described exactly as Google's AJAX crawling proposal... which makes me strongly suggests it's already being used –  philfreo Aug 7 '10 at 19:16
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I don't know a fully Ajax compatible crawler atm. But is has enough crawlers/bots who are specialized on reading JQuery, Prototype and other frameworks. Also some proposals and "quick&dirtie" solutions for ("good") refactored JavaScript are on the way to be stable. Just search on Google Code. I don't know if it is a good idea to post some links here.

Btw: Most Ajax websites are fully crawable because many Users uses AddOns like NoScript to deactivate JavaScript. So most sites provides a fallback solution. (also for old browsers).

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Progressive enhancement is how it should always be done. –  John Conde Aug 6 '10 at 20:16
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It's only a proposal so it's not being used yet (at least no one has announced it as being used but it is not uncommon for search engines to keep their capabilities a secret. At least for a little while).

It's hard to say if other search engines are going to use it but if it is standardized the odds are they will as they have been lock step with other standardized functionality (nofollow, etc.). Typically proposals take a while to be discussed and agreed upon (i.e. HTML 5) although it is always possible someone (i.e. Google) unilaterally implements it and the others are forced to adopt it simply to keep up.

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