This is big news. Business Insider’s Hannah Roberts reports that Google is splitting its index into separate mobile and desktop versions. Ms. Roberts writes: “Google regularly makes changes to its index, but this is a particularly big one. The mobile index will be the ‘primary’ index and will be kept more up-to-date than the desktop index. This means that — for the same search — the results you see on a smartphone will be different to what you see on a desktop.” Why the change? “Google’s shift to prioritize mobile over desktop follows user behavior to do the very same. Mobile devices are no longer secondary devices; they are the primary device…The move makes sense when you consider that mobile is the dominant choice over desktop for search.”
Steven E. Arnold (Beyond Search) ponders the move in a recent post: “Google no longer will have one search ‘engine.’ Google will offer mobile search and desktop search. The decision is important because it says to me, in effect, mobile is where it is at. But for how long will the Googlers support desktop search when advertisers have no choice but embrace mobile and the elegance of marketing to specific pairs of eyeballs?”
There is no exact date for when the change will take place, but “the change will happen within months,” according to Google’s webmaster trend analyst Gary Illyes as told to Search Engine Land.