Google Shares Its Need For Speed

Google has always been about speed. From its highly streamlined homepage to vast server farms, the company goes to extreme lengths to ensure that all of your search queries are returned in a fraction of a second. Now, it wants the whole web to be that fast.

In a video posted to the company’s official blog, a number top Google engineers and evangelists outline Google’s goal: to make surfing the web as instantaneous as “flipping through the pages of a glossy magazine”. It’s a lofty goal to be sure, but given the accomplishments we’ve seen in the last 15 years, it certainly seems attainable. Now for the matter of actually getting there.

To help achieve that goal, Google has unveiled a new Speed section of Google Code. The site includes a variety of tutorials and tech talks aimed to help developers optimize their code, with articles including “How gzip compression works” and “Optimizing JavaScript code. There’s also a selection of Tools from both Google and many third parties.

So what are the biggest problems remaining? In the site’s FAQ, Google outlines a few of the biggest issues:

Bandwidth is only one factor that contributes to latency. There are several other factors such as:

  • Websites that do not follow best practices in web development and are unnecessary slow
  • Web servers are often not optimized for speed
  • Several internet protocols were designed 10/15 years ago, when websites and web applications were different
  • Browsers only recently started focusing on speed. Many Internet users are using slow browsers
  • We believe we all need to work together as a community to address all the factors that keep the internet slow.

Google makes it clear that this isn’t a problem it can solve on its own. In the video below, Google Senior VP Engineering Bill Coughran describes the movement as “a series of difficult advocacy steps, over a long period of time”. But it’s worth it. As Performance Evangelist Steve Souders says as he closes out the video, “what we should also hold out as a goal, as an aspiration for what we can achieve by making the Internet a faster place, is raising the quality of life around the world.”

Photo by michaelmcd