Google announced yesterday a new service designed to help speed up websites, Google Page Speed Service. The new service works in a similar fashion to Cloudflare or a CDN, where requests for your website are diverted to Google rather than to the actual server where your site is hosted.
By doing so, Google are then able to control how your webpages are loaded and can apply several tweaks to improve the speed with which they load:
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.
The beauty of this service is that although webmasters can apply most of these fixes themselves, it can be quite fiddly, and this could be a quick and easy way for novice webmasters to access these tweaks. Google claim that speed improvements of 25%-60% can be achieved. If you’re not sure if your site will benefit, then Google have provided a url to test your site.
The results page for this site is below:
According to the tests you can see that this site would load faster on repeat page views with the Google Page Speed Service. A word of caution on these results though – although this site isn’t the fastest mainly due to the adverts I have to serve, in my own testing it loads a lot faster than in 6 seconds, so I don’t think this test is very accurate. The overall test result is generally correct though as this site is already heavily optimised, and it was unlikely that Google Page Speed Service could improve upon this.
I have a suspicion though that it might still be beneficial for even optimised sites to be delivered via Google Page Speed Service. Why? Well, by signing up to the service all of your traffic will be going via Google, so Google should get a better view of visitor behaviour on your site, which I’m sure at some point will filter though to their ranking algorithms.
The service will be chargeable and Google say the price will be competitive; whether this will be in the $5-20/pm range of services like Cloudflare remains to be seen. During the testing period Google are opening the service up to a limited number of webmasters free of charge. You can request access to the service by filling out this web form.