Here comes yet another way to be notified of new upgrades for WordPress in case you need one. Google has announced that they will be using their processing power to scan the source code of websites to look for the version number of the publishing software they are using and send them a notification through Google Webmaster Tools letting them know that an upgrade is available. In the case of WordPress, the meta tag was moved to the core of WordPress in 2.5. Therefor, anyone running a version of WordPress from 2.5 and above should have it displayed in their source code unless it was either removed or edited out through an action in the functions.php file such as remove_action(‘wp_head’, ‘wp_generator’); Also, some plugins have been created that removes the version info as well, typically security related plugins.
Speaking of security, the security through obscurity argument regarding the public display of the version number of WordPress in the source code was over once the code for WordPress was available to the public. Matt Mullenweg mentioned this in his post regarding how to keep WordPress secure.
Hide the WordPress version, they say, and you’ll be fine. Uh, duh, the worm writers thought of that. Where their 1.0 might have checked for version numbers, 2.0 just tests capabilities, version number be damned.
So, I’m with Google in that including the version number in the source code can do more good than harm. In order to receive these update notifications from Google, you’ll need to have a Google Webmaster Tools account with a site attached.
The majority of people in the WordPress community have continuously advised removing this generator from being seen in the source code as a means of security. Will this line of thinking continue, or will we see more people add or leave it in to take advantage of the updates from Google?