Went to the Gravatar website this morning, and saw the message its funder Tom Werner has put on:
... In order to handle the rapidly increasing load, I've had to experiment with a variety of server architectures. I ask for your patience during the coming weeks as I test out a few setups. The new and improved, vastly more scalable solution, will serve gravatars expediently and reliably
Gravatar has been very very slow over the past few months, and it has actually stopped working over the last few days. Almost all my sites use Gravatar in one form or another, and you can feel the degraded performance because of this dependency. Hopefully G2 will be much faster -- I was almost tempted to start my own Gravatar alternative.
If you check Cube6Media's blog (one of Tom's creation), you'll see that it has Gravatar on it, and is using a different URL syntax than the old Gravatar 1 URL. For example,
URL is parameterised, and looks like it is in the form of
/<md5(email)>/<rating>/<size>/ (I've just tested out by substituting with my own email address, and it worked). It's nice when URL is parameterised -- it allows the result to be easily cached (like my generic gravatar cache).