Samizdata - 1:57 am on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)
For anyone still confused, the command
"You must not show different content" (Webmaster Guidelines and cloaking article)
is not the same as the command
"You must show the same content" (Instant Previews FAQ)
as the latter omits the possibility of "no content" being shown.
I have always suspected that the Instant Previews FAQ answer on this issue (see earlier post) was written in a hurry a few days after the launch - and not necessarily by a PhD.
The idea that I "must" treat the Google Web Preview user-agent (which ignores robots.txt) the same as GoogleBot (which is compliant) is nonsense on stilts, and denying server access to a user-agent is not cloaking.
I have not sought clarification from Google about it, but in my experience corporations almost never admit to making mistakes, and in this case the Mountain View PhDs would probably find it quicker and easier to change a line of code and penalise some troublemaking webmaster for killing one of their fairies.
"If you don't eat your previews, you can't have any snippets...
How can you have any snippets if you don't eat your previews?"