TheMadScientist - 11:03 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)
@TheMadScientist: Pick on me! I've felt a bit left out you haven't looked my way before. :)
LMAO... I'll try to do better from now on!
I see what you're saying where it could easily be mis-applied, but I think it's more of a comparative use, and if your site with the book on one page is the only site presenting it, there would be no comparatively faster site for the content to be delivered from, so yours would be comparatively (relatively) the fastest. The same thing for the tutorial with the flash... It's probably unique, which would mean comparative analysis would determine it's relatively the fastest site delivering the desired content and speed would not remove it from the rankings or 'penalize' it in any way, but for sites serving 'dictionary definitions' or other 'facts' where there are likely to be a large number of results to choose from then the visitor would probably enjoy seeing the information faster rather than waiting for a slower site to load since they can easily 'get the facts' faster from one than they could from the other...
The preceding is why I think only a limited % of queries are effected at all, and Cutts and Co. are saying it will not be as important as relevance and other factors... In the case of 'relevance a tie' between sites presenting factual information which can be freely reproduced it IMO does no harm in trying to show the fastest sites to find the information first, which means tedsters 'tie break' theory could be correct, and I also think if a site takes 10 seconds to load and there are other relatively equal sites in terms of information (relevance to the query) it could tank a site in the rankings, but I think those are the two most likely situations where speed would be used, rather than as an 'overall factor' which could replace a relevant site with a less relevant resource based on speed.
Remember one of the biggest things they want to do is be the most used, and by removing the most relevant site from the results based on the load speed they lose their relevance as a search engine and drive visitors away, but when the information is freely available then they can make their visitors (and yours) happier by showing them the fastest version of the 'facts' they were searching for.