Google Style

Previously I’d mentioned a style guide from Google that covered shell scripts. Turns out they have a style guide for just about everything –

“Style” covers a lot of ground, from “use camelCase for variable names” to “never use global variables” to “never use exceptions.” This project holds the style guidelines we use for Google code. If you are modifying a project that originated at Google, you may be pointed to this page to see the style guides that apply to that project.

Our C++ Style Guide, Objective-C Style Guide, Java Style Guide, Python Style Guide, Shell Style Guide, HTML/CSS Style Guide, JavaScript Style Guide, AngularJS Style Guide, Common Lisp Style Guide, and Vimscript Style Guide are now available. We have also released cpplint, a tool to assist with style guide compliance, and google-c-style.el, an Emacs settings file for Google style.

Google Speed Experiment Reference

A common data point I see brought in web performance discussions is a reference to a test Google ran to test the impact of slower search results on the number of searches a user performs. I found the original blog post at Speed Matters:

Our experiments demonstrate that slowing down the search results page by 100 to 400 milliseconds has a measurable impact on the number of searches per user of -0.2% to -0.6% (averaged over four or six weeks depending on the experiment).

The impact extends beyond the initial test period:

Users exposed to the 400 ms delay for six weeks did 0.21% fewer searches on average during the five week period after we stopped injecting the delay.

If you are going to reference this test and the corresponding data, please link back to original Google blog post. Hopefully that will save others the time of having to hunt down the original information.

Google Project Fi, Only

The “network of networks” approach of Google Project Fi is an interesting move. I like the idea of being able to leverage multiple networks, in this case Sprint, T-Mobile, and wifi connections.

Any chance Google Fiber cities will see Google wifi access points that specifically target Project Fi users?

I clicked on “request invite”, which provided this disappointing response:


For now, Project Fi is available only for accounts with an address

Just in case you weren’t sure that accounts are second class Google citizens.

Combine this with the pain Slack is having with multiple user accounts and I wonder if user management is the next level up on scaling challenges.

Google PageSpeed Insights: Chrome 27 and iOS 6 Safari

I’ve been using Google PageSpeed Insights quite a bit recently. There isn’t much information on how exactly the tests are run, which can make it hard to reproduce the results. Then I noticed the user agent strings coming from PageSpeed Insights ( emphasis mine ):


Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko; Google Page Speed Insights) Chrome/27.0.1453 Safari/537.36


Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 6_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko; Google Page Speed Insights) Version/6.0 Mobile/10A525 Safari/8536.25

The only difference between these and normal user agent strings is the ; Google Page Speed Insights.

If these user agent strings are what they claim to be, the Insight desktop is using Chrome 27 released in May 2013 and Insight mobile is using Safari from iOS 6 released in Nov 2012.

This explains some of the inconsistency I noticed in comparing PageSpeed Insights results with Chrome mobile device emulation.

New Google Contacts

The new Google Contacts management features look nice. Unfortunately the part with the biggest impact for me came at the very end:

P.S. The new Contacts isn’t yet available for Google Apps customers, but we’re working on it.

Not exactly the first time that Google Apps users have been left out of new features. I’m starting to regret running my main account though Google Apps.

Google Giving Weight to HTTPS in Search Results


Maybe not everything, but certainly more than we are doing now.

So how do you encourage more sites to use HTTPS? Well, if you are Google, you tweak the SEO black box:

we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal — affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content — while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

From HTTPS as a ranking signal on the Google Webmaster Central Blog.

The call to have more sites use HTTPS has been out for some time. It is hard to be motivated enough to over come the technical and financial hurdles to make the move ( and for some sites those hurdles are non-trivial ). The SEO approach that Google is taking is the equivalent of hitting sites in the wallet ( in some cases that might be the literal result ). When the possibility of loosing money is involved then it is easier to get people’s attention.

This might be the single best use of the crazy Google SEO situation I’ve ever seen.

Earlier this summer Automattic talked about working towards providing all * sites with HTTPS by the end of 2014. This is something that I’m really excited to see happen.

If you still aren’t supporting HTTPS for your site, I’d encourage you to map out a plan to get there. Tim Bray posted a simple outline of the why and how of switching to HTTPS. If you are looking for a more technical view of how HTTPS works check out the TLS chapter of “High Performance Browser Networking”, which is free to read online.

Casting Out Google+?

Signs have been increasing that perhaps Google is no longer all in on Google+.

Just a few days ago there was the shift in Google Hangout no longer requiring Google Apps users to have a Google+ account. Now comes the rumor that photos will be usable without a Google+ account.

My personal preference would be for Google+ integration to be an option, instead of a requirement, on all Google services.