Google announced this morning that it’s releasing a new new web performance tool for webmeisters called Page Speed Service. This follows several other offerings from the company in the page speed realm, including a browser extension, the Page Speed Online API, and an Apache module.
“Page Speed Service is an online service that automatically speeds up loading of your web pages,” explains engineering manager Ram Ramani. “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.”
According to Joshua Bixby, who blogs at Web Peformance Today and runs Strangeloop, a site acceleration solutions provider, you may want to think twice about such a tool if you’re running an enterprise level site.
“The offering is geared to small sites with little to no complexity, which is very different from enterprise offerings in the market,” he tells WebProNews. “The new Google product will break pages; enterprise web content optimization systems have many systems that ensure this does not happen.”
“The features are basic and they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to acceleration,” he adds. “It performs a few basic acceleration features, some of which have the capability to slow down pages.”
“The features don’t today address the most important performance challenges faced by the enterprise,” Bixby continues. “It might speed up individual page but not transactions or flows (i.e., it will probably hurt conversion); enterprise WCO companies look across pages and examine user flows to ensure optimal flows instead of pages. Some of the major performance issues facing pages today not solved by the new product include 3rd party tags, consolidation of images, etc.
” It is a very interesting competitive offering to Amazon and some of the small cloud acceleration players like CloudFlare, Blaze, Torbit, and Yotta,” he concludes. “The cloud providers offering basic page based acceleration features targeted at the small- to mid-market will be faced with a formidable competitor.”
Ramani says Google has seen speed improvements of 25% to 60% on several sites. They offer a tool here, where you can run tests.
Google says it will be adding improvements to the service.
Right now, Page Speed Service is only being offered to a limited set of webmasters for free, but the service won’t be free forever. Google says pricing will be “competitive,” and that details will be made available later. There is an application form here.
Don’t forget, last year, Google announced that site speed is included as a ranking signal in its search algorithms.