In recent weeks, Google has made headlines numerous times over technological improvements set on speeding up Americans’ Internet experiences. Talk has also spun from these headlines that Google is looking at the big picture all wrong, suggesting Google should care more about Internet speed itself rather than shaving milliseconds here and keystrokes there. I beg to differ, but my position obviously deserves further explanation. Perhaps a quick view of what Google has done over the past weeks will shed light on what I mean.
Google Instant (AC source): Almost one month ago now, Google Instant was announced. Since most Internet browsers (the people, not the software) use Google over other search engines, you have probably already seen what Google Instant does. By cutting down the number of keystrokes required to find what you need by giving you suggested findings based on what the search engine anticipates you will type or what you have already typed, Google Instant decreases your search time from about 20 seconds to about 15 seconds.
Why Instant Matters: Google Instant’s technology matters more than the product we are using in the search engine. Sure we shave 5 seconds off our search times. But what is truly important is the cunning use of a similar technology as the failed Google Wave. I still waiting for this technology to be used in Gmail’s Chat feature so I don’t have to keep watching “so-and-so is typing” and instead can watch the message pop up instantly as its being typed.
WebP: This new technology has probably been missed by many everyday Internet users. WebP is Google’s answer to, of all things, the trusted and well known JPEG (ZDNet.com). Google’s new image file format is said to compress images nearly 40% more than JPEG formats with no noticeable loss of quality of the images.
Will WebP Matter: Probably not. Google’s work tweaking our browsing experience around every corner has pushed Google to do what so few big companies do now: think outside the box! However, sometimes, as great as their ideas sound, and usually are, they will still fall on deaf ears. Why will WebP probably die? Comfort and ease of integration. Most digital camera default formats are JPEG. Unless Google creates an easy manner in which webpage creators can transfer JPEG into WebP, WebP will go the way of the DVORAK keyboard.
False Start (CNet.com): The newest technological change from Google is a technology called False Start. False Start is a small nugget of software attached to Google’s web browser Chrome that decreases the number of back and forth communication between your computer and many websites during encryption. Normal users will probably never notice this increase in speed. The decrease in time is measured in milliseconds.
Each of these technologies are minuscule by themselves, but the problem is not seeing the forest through the trees. WebP, False Start, Instant, and Google Chrome itself are small steps in an ever-changing Internet world.
Some will, and have argued, that Google is focused on the wrong thing. Google should be focused on the speed of Internet itself. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, the United States is far behind in terms of Internet speed options (AC source). To this, I would argue Google is still committed to Internet speeds. Google is giving one U.S. city 1 gigabyte Internet speeds. Not only that, these other smaller technology changes in conjunction with Google’s other well done products like Chrome, Chrome OS, Droid, Gmail, Earth, Maps and so many others will show that Google is experimenting and thinking outside the box, which is a great business model and a better model for consumers.