Friday, January 27, 2012

Fridaygram: faster web, stronger machines, prettier planet

Author Photo
By Scott Knaster, Google Code Blog Editor

Everybody likes a faster web, and that theme has been evident this week here on Google Code Blog. On Monday, Yuchung Cheng wrote about Google’s research into making TCP faster through various proposals and experiments. Yesterday, Roberto Peon and Will Chan blogged about SPDY (pronounced speedy), Google’s protocol for speeding up the web’s application layer historically handled by HTTP. In related news this week, the chairman of the HTTPbis Working Group announced support for SPDY in a public post.

At Google, these projects are part of our Make the Web Faster initiative, although TCP improvements and SPDY are efforts of the whole community. Even if you’re not working on TCP or SPDY, you can find lots of useful resources at our Make the Web Faster site. For example, there are articles on compression, caching, metrics, and more, a set of tools for measuring and optimizing pages, and several discussion forums for communicating with other interested folks.

Sometimes stronger is more important than faster. Scientists looking to improve the durability of machinery have been studying the yellow fattail scorpion, which uses bumps on its back to resist damage from sandstorms. Researchers hope to use the scorpion’s design to create erosion-resistant surfaces for blades, pipes, and similar parts. Or maybe they’ll make machines that look like giant yellow scorpions.

Finally, take a step back from everything on Earth and have a look at NASA’s latest "Blue Marble" images of our planet. We have a beautiful home.

Let’s say this fast: Fridaygram posts are just for fun. Fridaygrams are designed for your Friday afternoon and weekend enjoyment. Each Fridaygram item must pass only one test: it has to be interesting to us nerds. That definitely includes speed, space, and scorpions.


  1. I think you meant to link to the story about the new improved Earth imagery in Google Earth released this week. The NASA story about Blue Marble NC you refer to is old news.

    1. Thanks for pointing this out. I did link to the wrong image – I was actually referring to a new Blue Marble image NASA released last week, although the Google Earth imagery is very cool too. Here's a better link:// .

  2. Thanks for this week's Fridaygram. I'm now sporting the blue marble desktop.

    By the way, there's a nice dropbox talk by Steve Souders on building faster sites. He offers advice on measuring site performance and he presents a set of rules for page organization and app caching.

  3. The scorpion post points out the relevance of Biomimicry for sustainable design in the physical world. What about the virtual world of software? When students learn about OOP by making objects like "mammal"->"dog" is this more than trivial? Do libraries bloat up as they age, like animal genera increase in size over evolutionary time? Does code have a life cycle? Do techniques developed in the biological world guide efficient code writing?