Google and Firefox sittin’ in a tree …

Google has added a unique tweak to their results but only for the growing number of users of the Firefox browser. The Firefox developers were wise enough to add to their development the ability to the website owner to define “prefetched” pages. Essentially this means that a website owner who knows what the majority of their users are going to do can take advantage of the browsers downtime (that time when the visitor is actually reading the content) to have specified pages downloading behind the scenes thus reducing the load time of that page shoudl they in fact visit it.

Google, in it’s wisdom, knows that when somepne runs a search for “IBM” that chances are they’re looking for the IBM website. Aside from ranking that site number one they have also added in prefetching which means that should the user click through to the IBM website it will take far less time for that site to load as much if not all of it will already be in the cache.

The advantage here is an improved user experience at both Google and once they click through to your site. The disadvantage for website owners occurs in the event that the user does not actually want to visit your site yet you have had to pay the bandwidth for it to be cached on their computer anyways.

All-in-all the pros outweight the cons. Kudos to Google for this recent development and do I have to say it again? … kudos to Firefox.

To read more about prefetching (and how you can integrate it into your site) you can visit the Mozilla websitea t http://www.mozilla.org/projects/netlib/Link_Prefetching_FAQ.html.

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