Google Friend Connect Adds 8 Seconds To Page Load Time

I know I can optimize lots of things on my site, and some of the work my server admin does and plans to do in the future have already reduced the time it takes Google to cache my content by 50%+

To add to that I was previously using memcached, eAccelerator, various WordPress cache plugins, Nginx + Apache reverse proxy, and now most of that is switched off.

Guess when Envygeeks first played around with my server…

But they haven’t done a full rebuild yet, so the current tweeks are limited, and hampered by frequent network outages burning up support time.

Google have just introduced some site speed reporting – great! It was announced on the webmaster central blog.

When I look at the results for this blog they are pretty dire


But just a second…

My about page has almost nothing on it and probably needs updating
My contact page is just a form
My comments policy has a fair bit of text but no images

All of those open pretty much instantly even on my decripid internet connection deep in the countryside of Poland, though the server is in the UK which helps a little (for me)

So where is the slowdown?

Google Friend Connect seems to add 8 seconds to my page load time

I really hope if Google are going to factor page load into their ranking algos that they will not penalize me for including one of their own widgets on my pages.

I have been testing Google Friend Connect for various benefits, but it is close to being ripped off my site.

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  1. says

    I removed Google friend connect from my blog because it took so much time to load the gadget.
    Sad for my ~50 members…
    The same for google adsense, sometimes it takes several seconds until the snippet is loaded :(

    • says

      Yeah I have just been reading a little about that as well

      Google could do with using async for things like Adsense for Search as well.

      That being said, I have the Friendconnect code at the end of my page, so nothing else is happening when it is loading.

      • says

        I wonder whether, even with it at the end of the page, it would speed up Google’s measure of your page load time (ie. would their load time checker ignore the Friend Connect code since it was loaded that way), and if so, would that benefit you in any way (eg. Google liking your page more because they thought it loaded faster).

        Also, does loading it that way affect how browsers go about queuing the external script for loading in a way that would affect how quickly your page is displayed? For example, if loading the script concurrently with loading images slowed the display of images and thus the display of your page’s main content, would this technique make the browser wait to load the script till other stuff was done? I wouldn’t imagine so…in which case, if you wanted to make that happen, you could take it one step further and trigger the loading of Friend Connect with an onLoad handler.

        • says

          One of the things that Jordan @ Envygeeks made me realise was the importance of keep alive

          Based upon tools like Pingdom, my site used to rocket compared to many, most of the time showing <2.0s and occasionally <1.0

          But half the load of this website is Google and other bots

          As I reimplement other tweeks on clean optimized server hopefully I can reduce the time for Google to cache, and for content to be visible.

  2. says

    It’s going to be interesting to see exactly what kind of weight Google places on site speed. They’ll really need to be careful here — often times the content of a site will load very quickly, but maybe some scripts at the end of the page will take awhile to execute (as you’ve noticed with Google Friend Connect). User experience is not affected by the page load duration in many cases.

    I wonder how feasible it would be to measure page speed only on local requests, while minimizing the impact of external requests so long as the number of external requests is ‘reasonable’ (whatever that may be determined to be).

    • says

      It is funny, currently Google is saying 98% of websites are faster than mine.

      I wonder what percentage of those slower than me are also running Google Friend Connect

      • says

        I also wonder what percentage of websites have virtually nothing on them or haven’t been updated since 2002. I mean, your site may not be blazing fast, but as a user, it in no way feels slow.

  3. says

    Whats funny to me is that in the crawl stats – we see that they spend an average of 275 ms downloading a page – but then in site performance (labs) – we have an average of 5.6 seconds – because they are loading all the external js – most of which is set to load after the page is rendered.

    The gzip suggestions are funny when they include code from google…

  4. says

    I’ve been so wary of using any Google gadgets on my blog after doing some tests on page loading speed. Even YSlow says the same thing with Google js scripts. I only have one left–Google translate. I wonder if I’m really getting much from it but I’ll soon find out otherwise I”ll have to give it up except for Adsense.

    The other thing that worries me is its impact for bloggers earning from banner ads due to its impact on the number of HTTP requests. The same thing with blogs with moderate pagerank like mine.

  5. says

    Looks like I’ve been missing a lot of stuff lately but an openDNS from Google? Seriously. The last time I’ve used openDNS was when I transferred hosting to speed up DNS propagation and that’s just about it. I stopped using openDNS since I couldn’t see much difference in speed while browsing. I definitely know how to tweak my PC so maybe I was a little unobservant. I’m not sure if I’ll give it a try.

  6. says

    I am getting on the bandwagon and installing the Google friends toolbar on my website. It is really dis-heartening that it has really caused load-times to plummet. I hope Google doesn’t count that against us, considering it is their own product….

    • says

      To be honest you would probably gain more benefit from Facebook

      Google Friend Connect has benefits for content sites, but probably a lot less benefit for ecommerce.

  7. says

    I’m not entirely sure how accurate the Google site performance tools are at the moment; they are still a “Labs” feature, so I’d expect them to be a little flaky. My average page load time seems to fluctuate pretty wildly, and it also reports that none of my content is gzipped, when I know for a fact that it is.

    The asynchronous loading of things like Analytics seems like a really good idea though, and I agree that this should be available for other Google services (I imagine it probably will be before too long).

  8. says

    I don’t know if you’ve seen the ridiculously long load times in Blogger.. but they’ve moved to a “each gadget is a GFC container” method. Each gadget loads in an iframe and then queries back to get any relevant feed or post data (for each gadget). If you load a map of recent post and

    I’m sure Blogger will learn any tricks around the speed test but the end result is the same, the reader will have to wait. It’s really sad considering they have awesome javascript access so you can do intelligent things to improve load/viewing performance, but Blogger seems adamant in their direction. What’s worse is developing a Blogger gadget require yet another gadget methodology, while adapting DOM based javascript is a two minute exercise.

    Maybe that’s why the Blogger developers group is a ghost town.

    • says

      I gave Rick / Blogger a bit of a talking down to in regards SEO 6 months ago – all they needed to do was remove one line in their robots.txt & possibly change their search URLs so they didn’t clash with their topic links in wildcards.
      It wasn’t fixed, Blogger blogs are still screwed and people stuck there are still stuck.

      • says

        I haven’t had that much luck in any of my discussions with Blogger. It’s sad and the worst part is they don’t even support their external developers who basically can add value for free.

        Google runs each of their groups like a startup but they forget about the most important element.. customer support/satisfaction. In a startup someone better be focused on the full customer experience, something that appears to be missing based on the low level of integration that exists (vs the way it could be). In many cases their own tools don’t even play well together!!

        As for stuck.. posterous has a great Blogger import function and MUCH better support. That’s where you find me..