Gmail Gets Sprited

Gmail has become my primary email application, and I have it open all day long. The Gmail blog recently announced speed improvements of 20% which will help me be 20% more productive!

Google engineers reduced the weight of each server request itself by eliminating or narrowing the scope of some cookies. They changed all our images were cacheable by the browser, and consolidated small icon images into single meta-images, a technique known as spriting (sprites are 2d transparent raster images that originally started with video games). They combined several browser requests into a single combined request and response. The result is that it now takes as few as four requests from the click of the “Sign in” button to the display of your inbox, down from 22.

This is excellent, because a site like or can take up to 180 http requests to fully render.

Gmail does it again.


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