Google emphasises that 'speed matters' through new website

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Google has launched a new site offering advice to developers on how to speed up their web pages.

Although a seemingly obvious thing to do, Google has put in time to research the affects of slower loading times on users and found it reduces the time people will spend on a page.

To combat this and encourage developers to speed things up it has created a website on Google Code offering tips, tutorials and discussion forums around increasing the speed of web pages.

Urs Hoelzle, senior vice president of operations and Bill Coughran, senior vice president of engineering, said on the official Google blog: "We are excited to discuss what we've learned about web performance with the internet community."

"However, to optimise the speed of web applications and make browsing the web as fast as turning the pages of a magazine, we need to work together as a community, to tackle some larger challenges that keep the web slow and prevent it from delivering its full potential."

The challenges include improvements to HTML 5, improvements of JavaScript and bringing broadband to all around the globe.

The research leading to this conclusion is discussed in more depth on Google's research blog by Jake Brutlag from Google's web search infrastructure team.

The post entitled "Speed Matters" details research findings that show just by slowing searches down from 100 milliseconds to 400 milliseconds it decreases the number of searches per user by 0.2 to 0.6 per cent. It also showed the longer the users were exposed to the slower times, the more their searches decreased.

Brutlag said: "While these numbers may seem small, a daily impact of 0.5 per cent is of real consequence at the scale of Google web search, or indeed at the scale of most internet sites."

"Because the cost of slower performance increases over time and persists, we encourage site designers to think twice about adding a feature that hurts performance if the benefit of the feature is unproven."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.