Google rewrites slow webpages

29 Jul

Google rewrites slow webpages

Derek Mead

July 28, 2011

The company’s new Page Speed Services offers huge improvements in load times for slow pages.

Google is in the process of unveiling a new service that promises to automatically rewrite participating web pages in order to increase their load and browse speeds. Google’s example page showed an improvement of 27 percent faster load times for users who loaded the page for the first time and over 60 percent faster load times for return trips.

Users of Page Speed Service create a new DNS CNAME record to reroute users to a Google-accessed version of the site (the DNS CNAME records keep track of various domain name aliases; for example, typing “digitaltrends.com” automatically reroutes you to “www.digitaltrends.com”). Page Speed Service, now that it’s able to crawl directly through the site, fetches site data to store with Google and automatically rewrites the site’s coding to fit best practices.

Google suggests users test their sites’ load speeds by using their dedicated testing program that compares the before and after of using the service. The test works by running the site by proxy through the Page Speed Service system to get accurate predictions of the speed gains they’ll receive.

It’s another example of Google’s institutional obsession with speed, and it’s not without merit. Slow-loading sites tend to get bumped down in Google search results by the company’s algorithm, and Google itself has professed that even small speed boosts can see large increases in traffic.

Right now the company has opened up Page Speed Service to a small number of extra-special webmasters for free trial at the moment, although Google hasn’t yet announced a date for when it will go live, nor has it mentioned what it will cost. There’s also the nervousness factor of letting an outside agency tear through your site to possibly clean it up and possibly destroy it, but we’d imagine the beta testing Google is doing right now will be vigorous enough to prove the viability of the concept. And it’s certain there will be many a webmaster looking to get a headache-free shot of speed.

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