GIFs are everywhere. The short attention spans of the internet-going public combined with better network speeds and higher bandwith has made the GIF a perfect medium for conveying short bursts of information (that is, until HTML5 video catches on). It’s quite remarkable that this relatively ancient technology is fast becoming the preferred way of communicating short “videos” where sound is a non-essential factor.
Reddit-inspired imgur.com is considered the de facto standard for sharing non-personal images across the internet (Instagram owns the personal domain). The free account allows for 5MB uploads (recently changed form 2MB) and a paid account is currently at 10MB. GIFs however, are becoming larger and larger in size. These limits inspired the creation of minus.com, a service that boasts a limit of 15MB which is good enough for most GIFs that are created. The latter service, however, lacks in speed and comes equipped with a horrible mobile site that, if not changed, will bleed them users. Also-rans in the field also include PhotoBucket, ImageShack, and countless others that for one reason or the other (e.g., poor interfaces, disjointed user experience) are simply not options.
This is where Google+ and the now infamous googleusercontent.com domain comes in. The fledgling social network has attracted users (myself included) in a manner that may have been entirely unintended: large size image sharing. Built on the famed infrastructure of Google, Google+ stores its images on sub-domains of googleusercontent.com, which delivers images at a speed that blows out imgur.com and minus.com.
I did some benchmarking (non-scientific) using the
siege command in Linux and it looks like I caught Imgur.com on a bad day, but nonetheless, the difference between Google+ and the rest is mind boggling. The following is a test against a GIF of 3.521 MB.
Minus.com $siege -c20 -d1 -t1m http://i.minus.com/izTmeKJf6TLib.gif Transactions: 340 hits Availability: 100.00 % Elapsed time: 59.80 secs Data transferred: 1169.07 MB Response time: 2.91 secs Transaction rate: 5.69 trans/sec Throughput: 19.55 MB/sec Concurrency: 16.53 Successful transactions: 340 Failed transactions: 0 Longest transaction: 4.01 Shortest transaction: 1.88 Imgur.com Transactions: 105 hits Availability: 100.00 % Elapsed time: 59.90 secs Data transferred: 361.04 MB Response time: 8.31 secs Transaction rate: 1.75 trans/sec Throughput: 6.03 MB/sec Concurrency: 14.57 Successful transactions: 105 Failed transactions: 0 Longest transaction: 24.61 Shortest transaction: 0.50 Google+ $siege -c20 -d1 -t1m https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-9HgHEsdRfXY/Ukcmb4Qx6MI/AAAAAAAAANM/9e88oZQBbOQ/w506-h284/ramseysh.gif Transactions: 668 hits Availability: 100.00 % Elapsed time: 59.49 secs Data transferred: 2296.87 MB Response time: 1.26 secs Transaction rate: 11.23 trans/sec Throughput: 38.61 MB/sec Concurrency: 14.17 Successful transactions: 668 Failed transactions: 0 Longest transaction: 2.21 Shortest transaction: 0.71