Google introduced its latest speed-improving innovation last week, Page Speed Service, which enables web publishers to improve their webpage’s loading speeds by 25 to 60%. With the new service, publishers will be able to point their site’s DNS entry to Google and Google will then gather the content from the publishers’ servers, optimize webpages and serve them. In other words, with the new service, Google is becoming a web host for and optimizer of publishers’ content.
Ram Ramani, engineering manager, introduced the Page Speed Service last Friday on Google’s Code blog, stating,
“Page Speed Service is an online service that automatically speeds up loading of your web pages. To use the service, you need to sign up and point your site’s DNS entry to Google. Page Speed Service fetches content from your servers, rewrites your pages by applying web performance best practices, and serves them to end users via Google’s servers across the globe. Your users will continue to access your site just as they did before, only with faster load times. Now you don’t have to worry about concatenating CSS, compressing images, caching, gzipping resources or other web performance best practices.”
Google is currently allowing advertisers to check out the service and test their web pages speed improvement with Page Speed. The service is available to a select number of webmasters for free. We should expect the paid service to be released shortly, but Google has not disclosed any pricing details.
Why the need for speed?
Google has made a consistent effort over the last few years to improve the speed of their search results, through services like Caffeine, Google Instant, Page Speed browser extension, the Page Speed Online API and the mod_pagespeed Apache module. The benefit of improving the speed of websites is that people can do much more on sites that are fast, as any reduction in time is likely to allow more interaction and movement around a site. What’s more, the number of opportunities to lose conversions or visitors on your site is directly proportionate to the length of the runway from arrival to conversion. Anything you can do to speed up that sales process will be a valuable move.
There’s also something to be said for the vast number of internet users around the world that are currently still operating on dial-up or slow mobile phones. Google is aware of this huge potential market, as indicated by their recent deal with Orange in Africa. The partnership aims to “extend the reach of a wide range of internet services that were previously limited to smartphone and broadband users (through 3G, CDMA or WiMax networks) to all Orange mobile customers.”
What’s Google motive?
The Page Speed Service also signifies a new product offering for Google to its existing customer, namely web-hosting and content delivery networking, which has many worrying about the consequential influx of information. Thom Craver of Search Engine Watch expresses concern about surrendering control to Google, stating, “What Google is now offering is tricked-out hosting, not a page optimizer. You have to set your DNS to point to Google instead of your current Web host. This means when someone types in your website, Google’s servers will answer, not yours.”
Google has tried to alleviate such fears, stating to eWeek, “We don’t use the information collected from serving these Websites toward improving search results or targeting advertising to users. We may, however, use the information collected to improve the quality of Page Speed Service itself, including making pages serve even faster.”
What do you think about Google’s new Page Speed Service? And what impact could it have for search marketers?
Tags | caching, caffeine, compressing images, CSS, DNS entry, Google Instant, gzipping resources, Loading Speeds, mod_pagespeed Apache module, Page Speed browser extension, Page Speed Online API, Page Speed Service