I’m not Mr. Techcrunch and I don’t spend my time checking out every cool new Web 2.0 site. But I’ve been on my fair share of them to know what this icon means:
To me, that icon means the browser is busy doing something.
Today, I decided I’d give Google Analytics a go. I added the HTML to my site, returned to the Analytics page and clicked on the link to check the status of the site.
Then I sat there stone-faced for several minutes waiting for something to happen. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Why? This icon is used by everyone else to show that some AJAXy goodness is being done behind the scenes. The message is also not clear and makes it sound like data is being generated on the server and being delivered to the browser.
The loading indicator is the wrong icon for the job and the message only supports the expectation that something AJAXy is supposed to happen.
I think this is a great example of confusing non-standard use of icons and misleading the user into thinking something is going to happen.