Thursday, March 31, 2005

Google Prefetching

Google Blog: "When you do a search on these browsers, we instruct them to download your top search result in advance"

You know, this smells a little bit like Google doing what this post from Raymond Chen outlines.

Google is making everybody's website with a high google rank slower because somebody "might" click on it and we want that to be fast. It's nice that you can opt out on your end, but what if the website owner wants to opt out of this behavior because google searches are slamming their site with incoming requests that people aren't following through it.

I guess if the google search algorithm is perfect then there's no problem, because people will always choose the top link... but how often do you "feel lucky"?


gwen the monster said...

I don't understand, but I'm really curious. Is there any way you could explain what it is Google is doing in words I understand? Dumb it down a little!

:) I love you!

Gary Owen said...

Basically, Google has made it so that when using Firefox, when you do a search it prefetches some of the web pages that come back as the search results. The goal being that when you select one of the search results it loads faster.

The problem (and maybe it's not really a huge problem) is that there will be pages that you aren't going to visit that will get prefetched and cached. So say I search for "Stupid Bunnies" and the first five links aren't what I wanted. While I'm looking through the list to find the link that I actually want, my browser is prefetching content from those first five websites in anticipation of me clicking on it. That is wasted bandwidth on my side and their side if those aren't actually the links I want.

So, if you site has a good google ranking for a set of search terms that don't actually pertain to your site, you're going to be serving up a bunch of content unnecessarily. Not so good if you're paying for your bandwidth (who isn't?).

OmegaStation said...

I find I almost NEVER click the first link when I search for a generic term. If I search for somewhere I know I want to go, but dont know the specific URL, then the page I'm looking for will generally be on top. Google seems to be having problems with sites abusing ad-sense to get high page rankings. Saw something on slashdot about that earlier....

Also, can't wait for the EP guys...


gwen the monster said...

Ah, well done, I get it now. MAN, that is lame.

Gary Owen said...

I was talking to Shawn and he seems to think that you have to opt-in to the scheme by designating some of your content as being pre-fetchable or some such thing.

I'll have to reserve judgement into I look into that aspect of it.