SAN JOSE, Calif.--Those who think HTML tags are low-level technology
should realize they can have a huge impact on the bottom line.
By finding an HTML tag that allowed Google to offer ads on the right
hand side of its search page without delaying page loading times,
Google was able to cash in without harming the user experience, said
Marissa Mayer, vice president for search products and experience, at
the O'Reilly Velocity 2009
conference. There aren't a whole lot of "billion-dollar HTML tags," as
Mayer put it, but she spent about 45 minutes Wednesday morning
encouraging Web developers to focus on speed.
Google laid the seeds for Mayer's talk Tuesday with the launch of a new Web page that gives Web publishers some help in making their pages load more quickly. Expanding on ideas she presented last year at Google I/O,
Mayer told the crowd that "small changes can make a big difference" in
how visitors perceive the speed and quality of a Web site.
For example, Google began compressing images in Google Maps, which
improved load performance by two to three times for users on slower
connections, which still comprise about 12 percent of those who use
Google Maps, she said. Likewise, switching from an image version of the
Google Checkout shopping cart to an HTML version saved time despite the
complicated code needed to properly display the graphic.
As always, Google's goal in sharing these tips with Web developers is
to improve the user experience of the Web at large, which Google
believes will lead to a greater number of searches on its site, and
therefore more money, Mayer said.