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Showing posts from August, 2011

Measuring the mobile web is hard

I believe strongly that you can't solve a problem until you can measure it. At Google, I've been charged with making the mobile web fast, so naturally, the first step is measuring mobile web performance across a wide range of devices, browsers, networks, and sites. As it turns out, the state of the art in mobile measurement is a complete mess. Different browsers report completely different timings for the same events. There is very little agreement on what metrics we should be optimizing for. Getting good timing out of a mobile device is harder than it should be, and there are many broken tools out there that report incorrect or even imaginary timings.

The desktop web optimization space is pretty complicated, of course, although there's a lot more experience in desktop than in mobile. It's also a lot easier to instrument a desktop web browser than a mobile phone running on a 3G network. Most mobile platforms are fairly closed and fail to expose basic performance metric…