As an active OGS user who travels between North American and Asia during school breaks, I already notice a pretty big improvement in speed over the past 2 years in Asia. 2 years ago I would time out in 10s blitz before my opponent’s move show up on the board, and I have to coordinate with opponent via other messaging app due to frequent disconnection. (in Shanghai+Hongkong) Last year it still takes quite a bit of time for many pages to load but i was able to play most part of the game with lag within 2-3s, but I would experience some major lag/ disconnection issue every half an hour on average which caused some timeouts. 6 month ago I think pages load a bit faster then before.
But still, the user experience in Asia (or China at least) is still quite far from the user experience in North America. Back in Asia I have to reserve at least 4s for byo yomi (which is a lot in blitz games since there’s also some lag in your opponent’s move showing up on your end). And I need to reserve some byo yomi periods to counter the occasional major lag/timer freezing issue.
I certainly agree that speeding up is an important issue and would help OGS attract more users. I don’t mind seeing more ads anywhere other than game page(eg. chat page, forum,profile…) But I think putting ad in game page is pretty distracting and would just offset the benefits. I would rather deal with the issues above than seeing an ad in game. I wouldn’t mind that much in seeing a static ad during review phase though.