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."