By Harry McCracken | Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 8:29 am
Google thinks the Web should be faster. It’s a constant theme at its media events, and is reflected in its decisions about its search engine, Android, and other products. And it’s announcing Google Page Speed Service, a new service which aims to help other sites pick up the pace. Page Speed Service will wedge itself between an existing site and the Web, and will rewrite the site’s code on the fly to optimize it for speed. It’s not intuitively obvious that this would work–wouldn’t the rewriting process eat up part of any gains realized?–but Google says that it’s seen improvements of 25% to 60% in some cases.
Just for yuks, I ran Page Speed Service’s tests on Technologizer. It said that the optimized version of this site was 1.9 percent faster than the current one, but also said that the optimized one was slower in other respects. (The video comparison of existing Technologizer vs. optimized Technologizer–which you can view here–does make the optimized one look snappier.)
It’s possible that Technologizer isn’t a logical candidate for this service: we’re based on WordPress and hosted by WordPress.com, which caches the site on servers around the world. Maybe we’re already subject to speed-enhancing techniques which limit what Page Speed Service can do.
Google doesn’t seem to be spelling out what sort of sites it thinks would be good candidates for Page Speed Service, but it seems like smaller operations without enough technical expertise to do their own optimizations might be interested. It has a fair number of limitations.
The service will be fee-based when it goes public, at a cost not yet disclosed. For now, Google is testing it with “a limited set of webmasters free of charge.”