Google SEO Tip#9: Are Chrome’s Usage Statistics Used In Evaluating Site Speed?

Matt Cutts: I’m not a hundred percent sure about this one because I didn’t get to check with the Chrome team before I came on to answer these questions but I believe the answer is no, at least right now.

The sort of thing that Google is going to look at might be how fast do pages respond to Googlebot, if people have the toolbar installed and have the advance features of toolbar, we might look at those sorts of things.

You can imagine doing static analysis of pages and sort of figure out how many images there are, how many are going to be able to load at once, all that sort of stuff. So there are a lot of ways to compute possible site speed as users would experience it.

However, I don’t think, and I haven’t heard about anybody using Chrome’s usage statistics in order to compute that. I do think that the way the terms of service are written, we probably would be allowed to because I think that we have said usage statistics could be used to improve Google’s search quality and improve Google’s products. So I think that it would fall under the umbrella of something that would be allowed, but to the best of my knowledge I don’t think that we use Chrome in computing those site speed statistics.

For the people who are worried, you can always turn it off. Chrome tries to be very, very careful about when it talks back to Google, and in fact a lot of people are like, “Ooh Chrome is always talking back to Google” and that’s really a misperception. If you look at many, many browsers, it actually sends a lot less information than the vast majority of browsers.

Things like when you start typing a URL, if you have Google set as your suggests vendor so to speak then we will send those typed key strokes in order for Google to suggest useful things that might be what you’re interested in. But even then you can change who you send your suggest queries to, and Google only keeps something like 2 percent of those for something like 24 to 48 hours and then we purge that.

So all the people who are worried about Chrome is spying on you or something like that, you can always install Chromium, which is the open source version of Chrome, if you want to be completely safe and know every single line of code you can look at. But really you don’t need to worry about running Chrome and to the best of my knowledge we don’t use usage statistics from Chrome in computing site speed.

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