What purpose does the speed indicator (the 0.44 seconds in the image below) serve the user when using Google search?

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Does this have a specific use to a specific user of Google or is it just Google bragging about how fast their search engine is at finding multiple results?

If it does serve a solid purpose why don't other search features (not just search engines) used across the web have this?

3 Answers 3


This is not our fault

Many of us use modern devices and fast connections. But many others don't.

Using an iPhone 3GS over a slow connection, you are nearly certain to wait 3 seconds from clicking search to seeing the results.

Basically, Google is saying - this is how long it took us to do the work, any extra delay is not us.

Quality of service (QOS) - Beat us if you can

Have a look at this Underground services performance page. It has links to many documents revealing the QOS. Transparency comes to mind here.

You can see it as bragging, or you can see it as: "This is how well we do".

Had I written a search engine faster than Google, I sure am to put that figure on my page. I suspect other search engine don't because that will reveal Google's superiority. Which is probably exactly why Google includes it - Beat us if you can.


In this Google webmaster blog entry from 2010 they mention:

You may have heard that here at Google we're obsessed with speed, in our products and on the web. As part of that effort, today we're including a new signal in our search ranking algorithms: site speed.

and later

Faster sites create happy users and we've seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.

That seems to indicate that they want more users to be happy and spend more time using the Google search. Perhaps they believe that by showing to the users how fast the search performs they can increase the time spent on Google search instead of other search engines.

So in a way it's both bragging and subtly hinting the user that they are faster than the competition. Perhaps it's true, since no other search engine shows the speed of the results (at least not that I have seen).


I think it's just a vestige from their early days when other search engines were slow.

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