Google Browser Size

http://googlecode.blogspot.com/2009/12/introducing-google-browser-size.html

I think this is a clever idea. It’s a “contour map” of this blog showing how much of the screen users can see at various browser sizes. They compile it from statistics Google gathers when users visit Google.com then apply it to a web page. They say it very important if you have a “Buy”, “Donate” or “Download” that the button is visible without scrolling.

Google Browser Size BKKPhotographer

Google Browser Size BKKPhotographer. Click to see full size.

The tool’s creators retell an anecdote about the positive effects of moving the “Download” button for Google Earth 100 pixels higher.

I don’t have any such buttons but it did make me wonder if putting my Calendar widget near the top on my right-hand-side column of WordPress widgets was the best choice.  I don’t know how many people search a blog like that but my intuition tells me it is a minority. (WordPress will have the statistics but I don’t think they share them).

Here’s the equivalent map for the Google.com home page. (Of course the contour map is the same – but it overlays in a different page). It shows that 5% of users don’t see the “Make Google Your Home Page” link without scrolling. I guess the map includes users who view the web from mobile devices with very small screens.

Google Browser Size Google.com

Google Browser Size Google.com. Click to view full size.

It does not allow for more sophisticated web sites that rearrange themselves depending on the size of the user’s screen. But web designers who are that sophisticated probably don’t need this tool.

I like the way the engineers took the trouble to make it possible for me to interact with the page even though it has the contour map overlay. If I’d had done it I probably would not have bothered. But that sort of engineering reminds me of HP in the “good old days”.

They don’t say anything about what they had to do to get the source browser size data from the Google repository. This is an unofficial “20% project“. I wonder what internal administrative procedures Google has in place. Browser size is harmless but they keep much more personal data that must be strictly guarded.

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One Response to “Google Browser Size”

  1. I’m a Google Wave Previewer « Bkkphotographer's Blog Says:

    […] Google Browser Size to optimise this blog as much as WordPress permits it. I wrote about the latter here. I have not changed this blog as a result of overlaying their contour map on this page […]

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