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Google Wants Faster Web With Page Speed Service

Thursday Google engineering manager Ram Ramani announced the launch of its new Page Speed Service which promises to speed up page loads. The launch follows Google's Page Speed browser extension released two years ago and the Page Speed Online API released earlier this year. Google also released an Apache module last year that automatically rewrote web pages to make viewing faster.

So what's this new Page Speed Service? Think of its as a translation service that grabs and re-writes the content from your servers, then spits it back out to Internet surfers. Initial tests have shown speed improvements of 25-percent to 60-percent on several sites as seen here. Users won't see anything different in how they access the site other than that the pages will load a lot quicker.

"To use the service, you need to sign up and point your site’s DNS entry to Google," he explained. "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."

Interested Page Speed users can actually test their site on the service by heading here. Simply enter the URL to your site, choose a test location and browser, then hit the Start Test button (there are advanced options too). The test may take several minutes to complete, depending on the load on the test servers (which is currently taking well over ten minutes).

After testing Tom's Hardware using Internet Explorer 8, DSL access and a server located in Virginia, there was only a 4.4-percent difference in page load time and a 5-percent quicker load when accessing the page a second time.

So how much will this translation service cost and where do we sign up? "At this time, Page Speed Service is being offered to a limited set of webmasters free of charge," he said. "Pricing will be competitive and details will be made available later. You can request access to the service by filling out this web form."

For those who tried the test and didn't get impressive results, Google says that a slow down can happen due to various reasons such as, the default configuration not being optimal for your site. "If that is the case, please try running the tests on other pages of your site or visit this page later," the company said. "We are constantly working to improve the service."

  • digitalwitchcraft
  • garborg
    I love how the attached picture shows the "optimized" page loading slower.
  • technoshroom
    Tried it on my site. Added almost half a second to the total page load time while more than tripling the start render time. Even doubled the repeat view start render time.

    Seems like this service is more for those using junky CMS's than people who have coded their site themselves.
  • house70
    Ummm... no. I don't think I will pay any amount of money to have a 5% decrease in loading times. Not worth it, IMO.
  • jhansonxi
    house70Ummm... no. I don't think I will pay any amount of money to have a 5% decrease in loading times. Not worth it, IMO.Performance depends on the page content. People stuck with dial-up will take any improvement they can get.
  • MrBig55

    It's in no way awesome! In the test Internet explorer 8 loaded the page in about 20 seconds, and my firefox 5.0.1 with "noscript" and "adblock plus" loads it in about 3 seconds with a 20Mb internet connection. ^^
  • If you need caching to speed up your site, use nginx. It is opensource and awesome. And letting Google to relay all your traffic (including passwords, session cookies, etc) is just plain stupid. Even HTTPS cannot save you becaue users will establish connections with Google's servers, not yours.
  • doorspawn
    If you want to speed your page up by 90%:
    1) Use nothing but HTML and CSS (ie no javascript, flash) - (99% of sites, and 90% of sites that claim they need it, don't need scripts).
    2) Don't use uncompressed images.
    3) Use compressed text.

    You will also get the benefit of working on nearly every single browser perfectly, even those who use piles of addons like script blockers.

    Note - the above can (occasionally) take more effort these days and is often hard to get your boss to agree since they're often impressed when people throw words like Ajax, Rails etc that they have almost zero understanding of.
  • randomizer
    The reason why the Tom's Hardware page didn't get much speedup is because the slowest content (a bucket load of JS files) is pulled from 3rd party servers.