Google has been talking a lot about web site performance for years, and it is a difficult problem to solve because it has so many causes. Narrowband dial-up has been replaced by Broadband, but despite the speed difference it isn’t fast enough to satisfy web surfers. After a short time surfers develop a tolerance to the increase in speed, demand even faster speed. That is the assumption being made by Google, and others, based on page load times, and the average amount of time a web surfer spends on a page or a web site. Decreasing the time a page takes to load results in longer average time spent on a page and the associated web site. The conclusion is that faster is better.
To measure page load times Google implemented site performance tests in Google webmaster tools, so web site owners could see how their site compared to all other web sites, and Google hinted that site performance would likely make a difference in the search engine sending them traffic from search results. To make it easy for webmasters to analyze their web site performance Google created a Page Speed plugin for Firefox, an extension of Page Speed for Google Chrome, and even an online version of Page Speed. The Google Chrome extension, like Yslow, even provides links to optimized images, css, and js files of the page that is being viewed. There is even a Page Speed module for Apache.
Now Google is taking the process of optimizing web sites to a whole new level. Google will be making their new Page Speed Service available to the general public in a few months at which time pricing will be announced. This new service is Google’s version of a Content Delivery Network (CDN), that will utilize one of the fastest networks in the world, servers included. Some current CDN’s offer compression of some items, back lack many of the features needed to fully automate optimizing a web site. Google’s Page Speed Service will offer a full suite of automatic web site optimization on their CDN servers, which will take all the load off the webmaster’s servers, and the pressure to speed things up off webmasters a bit. This doesn’t mean web masters should not still implement the Page Speed recommendations, but at least if they don’t their site will still be faster, and if they do they’ll fully benefit from a faster loading site with surfers who stay longer, and view more pages.
I am very happy using the CDN service that is integrated into Softlayer, but I will be giving Google’s much more advanced Page Speed Service a try to see how much faster it can make my blogs.