Speed Tracer, a New Deep-Level Web App Performance Tool from Google

The new Chrome extension is part of the Google Web Toolkit

Google's dedication to speed doesn't come as a surprise to anyone and a faster web is one of the main goals of the company. It tackles the problem on several fronts, building its own browser , its own Internet protocols and continually optimizing its own apps and services, but it can't really do that much for the web at large, at least not directly. It can, however, do its best to help web developers build better and faster apps and it has several projects on this front as well. Recently, it launched an updated version of the Chrome dev tools with a couple of new features and now it's releasing a new tool for the Google Web Toolkit, Speed Tracer.

“Speed Tracer is a Google Chrome extension that enables developers to identify performance problems in their web apps using a "Sluggishness Graph," in combination with many other metrics. In the spirit of clean, simple design, developers need only look at the Y-Axis of their application's Sluggishness Graph to see how they're doing,” Bruce Johnson, engineering director, wrote. “We think developers will find that Speed Tracer looks under the covers of web applications like never before.”

It's an interesting use of the new extensions platform which Google just launched for Chrome. Of course, loading times measuring tools aren't exactly anything new, even Google has a couple of them already for Firefox and Chrome, but this is more than that, it taps into the inner-workings of the web page to get data which can't really be accessed in any other way at this point.

Speed Tracer was made possible by the web development APIs built into Webkit, the open-source HTML rendering engine that powers Chrome, which allows the extensions to retrieve detailed information and track the performance at the deepest levels. This helps developers single out the functions or portions of code which slow down the app so they can focus on optimizing them rather than going blind trying to find the source of the problem. Interestingly, Google says it used the tool to optimize Speed Tracer itself as Chrome extensions are built entirely using web technologies.

Google Speed Tracer for Chrome is available for download here.


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