A Google employee announced that there would be a change in the way gadgets will be rendered on the iGoogle page today. It is a tiny iddy bitty tweak, but significant in a couple of ways to me.
What is the change?
Gadgets on the iGoogle page can be minimized, but even when they are minimized, the gadget “loads”. The change is that minimized gadgets will no longer load. Here is how Gordy from Google put it…
“What are ‘minimized’ gadgets?
On iGoogle, http://www.google.com/ig, all gadgets have a title bar
with a [-] icon at the top right corner. When you click on it, the
gadget content collapses to a minimized form where only the title bar
remains visible. When one of your homepage tabs contains a lot of
gadgets (> 10), minimizing the ones that aren’t frequently used can
help unclutter the page and preserve precious vertical real estate.
What’s the change in behavior?
Currently, minimized gadgets are rendered as the page loads even when
they’re not visible. This increases overall page load time and can
cause errors in browsers which don’t handle hidden iframes well. The
behavior will be changed such that minimized gadgets are not loaded
until you un-minimize them. The pages should load faster, and
there’ll be fewer issues with hidden iframes.
For example, if you have 20 gadgets on your homepage and 8 are
minimized, only the remaining 12 un-minimized gadgets will be rendered
as opposed to 20.”
This makes alot of sense in a “consumption of resources” kind of way.
It is a “tiny” tweak, but how is it telling?
It is telling when combined with the new help section they just recently added to the gadget API section which deals with improving gadgets for high traffic .
What it tells me is that Google is finding the need currently (or foresees the need) to reduce the amount of resources that gadgets are using.
That just sounds like smart use of resources, why is it “telling”?
Do you remember how I talked about a change in the default gadgets that are showing up on the iGoogle page and how those new default gadgets contain promotional links? Well there is a reason for that and the reason for it is because of the current behavior (or the foreseen behavior) of those using Google as a home page.
Another hint (from the Google gadget API documentation explaining why pages were removed)…
Where Did that Doc Go?