We all notice when a web app is acting a big sluggish. What is causing it to be so slow?Why is it not responding as fast as it should?

These are the kinds of issues that keep developers up at night.

To help solve this problem, Google is launching Speed Tracer, a new tool for the Google Web Toolkit.

Speed Tracer is a Google Chrome extension. It gives developers the ability to identify problems in their web apps using a "sluggishness graph," that shows how the app is doing. If it is zero on the graph's y-axis then the app is screaming. If the y-axis is 100 then something is wrong. It is acting sluggish.

Speed Tracer is one of several new features added to Google Web Toolkit.

For example, one of the new features in Google Web Toolkit splits code to help speed up the start time of large applications. According to Google, "Code Splitting enables developers to safely and easily slice and dice their application code so that key functionality can load immediately and other features can be loaded later as needed."

These are the kinds of applications we should expect to see more of as web applications proliferate. We need more ways to do benchmarks. Services like Speed Tracer help diagnose issues to quickly improve performance. That's a critical issue in today's market. The speed of an application can be the difference for a customer. If the application is fast, they may stay and check things out. if it is slow they will split.

And when they split, who knows if they will ever come back.