I was just playing around on the internet for a little bit and did a search in Google for “Google” to see what would happen. I couldn’t believe it, but there are a couple tools that I haven’t even heard of before listed on there. I was particularily interested in a tool called the Google Web Accelerator.
The Google Web Accelerator is a tool that IE and Firefox users can download and install into their browser. What it basically does is speed up the internet for broadband connections (dial up users don’t get much help). I’ve heard of tools like this before and have actually used them, but G’s Web Accelerator has a concept that I’ve hardly heard about called prefetching, which is normally used for images on websites.
Prefetching is something that webmasters and designers like to use when they want an image to load before a page loads. Of course, there is a lot more to it than that, but that is the basic purpose of prefetching. Google has instituted something different and it is controlled by an extremely sophisticated AI that watches how you use your computer while you are surfing the internet. They have the prefetch set so that the links that will most likely be clicked will be prefetched. I’m not sure exactly how they do it, but they have a massive amount of statistics to help them.
But the AI prefetch isn’t quite what I’d like to talk about here. I would like to talk about how webmasters can utilize this tool and decrease the amount of time that it takes for a user to load pages. Google added a new tag to their database that webmasters can add to any link that they want prefetched. It’s really easy too, especially if you are already famility with the “nofollow” tag that Google created.
To tell the Google Web Accelerator that you want a certain link on your website prefetched by Web Accelerator users, all you have to do is add “rel=prefetch” to the html link that you are using: . This will tell the Web Accelerator that you expect users to follow this link and it will prefetch the page that is supposed to come. This is great for webmasters because a user who click that link will arrive at the next page almost instantaneosly.The only downfall of the Google Web Accelerator is that it may have an impact on the bandwidth that is being used on your website. However, if you can control which pages are to be prefetched and speed the download process up, you will probably be able to generate enough extra revenue to be able to pay for more bandwidth.
If you are interested in learning even more about this new tool by Google, here are some links: