Google’s pacman doodle in Epiphany/Midori?

Google has had a very nice idea today, to celebrate Pacman’s aniversary: they made their logo become a playable HTML5 pacman. If you’re wondering why your WebKitGTK+ browser is not being able to play the game here’s why: Google is doing User-Agent sniffing and denying you the fun, sending a static image that you can click to perform a search instead of the game.

If you make Epiphany or Midori identify themselves as Chrome or Firefox, the game will work. I really don’t get this User Agent sniffing bullshit coming from Google. If you go to gconf-editor, and under epiphany->general set the user_agent key to “Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux; en-gb; rv:1.9.0.2) Gecko/2008092313 Firefox/3.8″ it works. I’m starting to seriously consider User Agent spoofing for *.google.com as a quirk on WebKitGTK+. Lame.

Update: as a protest, I’m making blog.kov.eti.br and kov.eti.br say Chrome/Chromium are not supported, by doing User Agent sniffing.
Update2: it’s been pointed out to me that the game is not HTML5 – it’s actually smart usage of divs, and flash *urgh* for the audio
Update3: thanks to a friend who works at Google getting in touch with pacman’s designer, it looks like it now works without faking U-A – I’m happy for this, thank you! Despite this good step forward, google is still denying us the nice fade in effect, and still sees us as ‘unsupported’ in Wave and similar products, so I’ll keep my protest for now.

19 thoughts on “Google’s pacman doodle in Epiphany/Midori?”

  1. This is basically why iPad identifies itself as everything: Mozilla, iPad, iPhone, Mac OS X, AppleWebkit, KHTML, Gecko, Safari.

    Mozilla/5.0(iPad; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.21.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.4 Mobile/7B314 Safari/531.21.10

    I’m not sure, but wouldn’t be a good idea [if possible] to identify Epiphany as “like Safari” or something?

  2. what would have been your reaction if google had not this user-agent filter and your browser failed showing the search form because the html mess?

    HTML should (perhaps it does) have a way to delegate such decision to the browser itself, such as ……

    Years ago I remember you had to write javascript inside comments, and I remember some tags, which I would expect to have evolved since then…

    cheers!
    Z

  3. what would have been your reaction if google had not this user-agent filter and your browser failed showing the search form because the html mess?

    HTML should (perhaps it does) have a way to delegate such decision to the browser itself, such as <if you support html5 feature X>…<else>…</if>

    Years ago I remember you had to write javascript inside comments, and I remember some tags, which I would expect to have evolved since then…

    cheers!
    Z

  4. Oddly, SeaMonkey works fine, and it isn’t exactly a big name.
    You would think someone like Google could handle capability testing, or failing that, could at least look for “Gecko” and “WebKit” instead of browser names.

  5. @Vinicius Epiphany’s default User Agent string already contains AppleWebKit, and Safari, with appropriate versions.

    @lamer: I would have felt OK, that would be just a web compatibility problem to fix, something which is part of our day to day lives in web land.

    Now, what you suggest of having ways to check for features is already there. It’s called “Graceful Degradation”. Now, I know graceful degradation is a hard thing to do properly, specially when you do not have an extensive list of browsers to test against.

    In this case, though, it would have been better to meet a completely fucked up page and go fix bugs in WebKitGTK+ than have the feature hidden completely from me because of U-A sniffing.

  6. @kov I would think google has the means and probably a big array of bots for testing their pages and applications in a variety of browsers and platforms, so perhaps the graceful degradation would have been the right approach in this case.

    Also I understand you would prefer the ‘fucked up page’, perhaps I would too, but most people reach google.com to place a query (I do, most of the time), not to watch the logo or to debug their browsers. Having said that, the two browsers you mention are not probably the most popular among the general public, and that goes more in favor of your view.

    @kov @avb I didn’t mean to despise your post and comment; re-reading my post again I find it a bit harsh but that was not my intention, I apologise. Sorry for the double post, I expected it to be mod’d down.

    Cheers,
    Z

  7. @lamer: apologies accepted, sorry for the double post, my fault approving both =D; in this case the situation is less problematic than it seems – both browsers are also WebKit-based browsers, so barring bugs (that do exist), they should support the same stuff Chromium and Safari do, usually.

  8. Not sure about HTML5: Iceweasel from Lenny gives me the game here, (after enabling javascript for googleusercontent.com).

  9. @mju: I think you’re right there, it seems to use only HTML divs, css and *urgh* flash for the audio, which is even more reason to be pissed by the U-A check

  10. it’s been pointed out to me that the game is not HTML5 – it’s actually smart usage of divs, and flash *urgh* for the audio

    Uh, if that’s not HTML, I don’t know what is. You seem to be applying some mystic properties to the word “HTML5”.

  11. @Jeremy: oh, you are totally right about it being HTML; when I say ‘HTML5′ I mean using new tools that are only available in HTML5-powered browsers, and which are much saner than using divs and flash, like the canvas element, and the audio media tag. Implying those when saying ‘HTML5′ is hardly mystic.

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