We are all test dummies in one of the worlds largest experiments.
Google shows different versions of pages to users and records their response. This data is important for improving the search service. By gauging the users preferred search options Google can refine the search results page and ultimatley the speed of their service.
There is a direct correlation between the speed of the service and amount of data that users request. If you have been using the internet for at least 5 years then you will have experienced the internet evolution to broadband speed. Quicker downloads allow users to surf more.
This is also relevant to page data size. When Google trimmed the Google Maps page size from 120KB down by about 30 percent, the company started getting about 30 percent more map requests. “It was almost proportional. If you make a product faster, you get that back in terms of increased usage,” said Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience, in a speech at the Google I/O conference.
Another important page element includes white space around images. Every component must be considered for optimising speed. High speed internet access has lead to complacency in this area. When internet access was limited to dial-up, this was an important consideration in page design.
Unfortunately, web pages have become bloated with technology, such as flash and microsoft code. It’s up to today’s web site developers to use existing technologies, such as CSS or AJAX, for efficiency.