Page Speed Service

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Just a few minutes ago Google announced Page Speed Service. It’s a service that’s super simple to set up – web app developers to point their app’s DNS at Google. In return, Google handles rewriting web pages for performance and does things like concatenating scripts and css files and the other best practices outlined by Google in their Page Speed guidelines. You can read the announcement on the Google Code Blog.

From what I can tell, Google is proxying all of the web app’s requests to accomplish this feat, and that makes me extremely wary for any kind of app that handles private data. Call me crazy, but I don’t want them handling my customers’ credit card numbers and critical personal information. Even if they do handle it completely responsibly, the privacy concerns that people have about Google could turn into a nightmare for anyone using this service. For smaller apps that avoid private data, though, transferring all data through Google might be a reasonable tradeoff. That said, things like the upcoming Rails 3.1 asset pipeline or just a bit of elbow grease make really optimized assets and pages pretty easy to put together. Even hosting your assets on a CDN is pretty easy to pull off these days.

I’ll continue keeping up with Google’s page speed research and implementing their guidelines as they make sense, but I’m going to steer clear of Page Speed Online.

What do you think? Would you ever use Page Speed Online?

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44 comments on “Page Speed Service

  1. Yes, its a proxy. 

    But it doesnt support HTTPS/SSL, so you wouldnt be passing Credit card info extra via it anyway. You still run SSL direct via your own domain, bypassing the proxy. 

    • Ah, thanks for letting us know, Barry.

      I guess that’s also got the tough side effect of limiting the usefulness of the service when sites use SSL heavily, since those sites will still need to optimize manually.

  2. Even if it supported SSL, you could run your secure data through a separate non-proxied sub-domain – or something, which is non routed through the google service.

    • The issue isn’t whether you can handle things without them. It’s more that once you do you need to optimize your site yourself, so why use their service at all.

  3. Google are only solving one part of the problem… I agree that ‘front end’ optimisation can make a big dent in achieving speed performance goals but it doesn’t address all the bottlenecks on the server and application. Besides.. I would rather not pay a monthly fee for a process  that I could probably perform once and then forget about it.

    • Moreover, there are free services of such kind. I agree with you that it is better to optimize the website once and never care about load speed. One the other hand this service might of great use for ‘dilapidated’ website. :)

  4. I see Google’s Page Speed Service positioned as: “Too lazy to follow these guidelines: Just route your traffic through us and we’ll do it for you! Free for now, but for a (competitive) fee later.”

    These days, web developers have a ton of excellent tools (like the Rails asset pipeline, caching proxies, CDNs) that make these these optimizations easier for new applications. But the decision to “re-architect vs redirect” for existing applications may have just gotten easier.

    • I can definitely see using it for a public site that’s mostly static or that just doesn’t justify spending much time on optimizing.

    • I can definitely see using it for a public site that’s mostly static or that just doesn’t justify spending much time on optimizing.

    • I can definitely see using it for a public site that’s mostly static or that just doesn’t justify spending much time on optimizing.

  5. From my reading of the docs, it looks like more than just rewriting – you also get network acceleration and CDNish services all rolled together.

  6. It looks like Google is going to handle my website 1 second slower than the current speed. For me it is a no go I’m afraid… Cloudflare is doing a pretty good job at the moment.

  7. Down load Opera Mini, it’s free and fast! I have used this on a few phones over the years and have recommended it to so many people for easier and faster browsing! AquaScoop

  8. Trying to handle custom web sites at an enterprise level is tough sale for me. Another commenter mentioned laziness, which is probably right on. I might be ok for really rough sites coming out of a CMS in drones but I dont think I’d ever pass a truly custom site through an automated optimization process. my2cents

  9. I wouldn’t trust google. Just implement the suggestions yourself and don’t give big evil google your website for nothing.

  10. I think the value proposition is strong.  People who say you should optimize your website once instead of using a service may be forgetting that browsers and mobile devices are constantly changing.  New optimizations are being developed all the time.  Using a hosted service lets you take advantage of those new developments without having to do anything.  Performance optimization tends to be the last item on developers to-do list and often gets put off for higher priority issues.  At Torbit, we often hear people say “we know we could/should optimize our site but just haven’t gotten around to it yet”.  Torbit offers a similar value proposition as Site Speed Service but we focus on customers who need a more robust solution and a company that is accessible when it comes to support.  As a higher-end competitor to Google service, I’m excited to see them validate what we’re doing.  It will be up to customers to decide whether they want to trust Google with their data.  Regardless, the idea of allowing companies to increase their revenue with a 5 min setup that speeds up their site is pretty compelling!  

  11. I share the author’s privacy concerns. The web is not suppost to be owned / proxyed by one company.  

  12. Speed is definitely becoming more and more of a priority for sites now and it’s actually something I’m very keen on as it’s a tangible measurement that separates “bad” sites from “good” ones. For instance, as much as I love open source CMS’ like WordPress, they are going to get a slap on the face in terms of their optimisation (or rather lack off) when people notice that it performs very badly and their site ranking diminish as a result. Again this is Google evolving the industry and creating new barriers which help weed out the bad from the good.

  13. Nice post. I like the way you start and then conclude your thoughts. Thanks for this information .I really appreciate your work, keep it up

  14. If you’re getting CDN-style services (e.g., regional proxy servers), I definitely see the advantage for high volume sites. Most of us can probably settle with performing the optimizations ourselves.