Kewl App Alert: Google's Page Speed Service - What is it? Does it work? (Spoiler: It Depends)

The big brains at Google are now offering "Page Speed Service" which is essentially a service to re-write your webpages and serve them up faster. Let me say that again: Google wants to re-code your webpages on the fly and claims they will serve them up faster. This will be good for you, says the Goog, because faster performance, means faster eyeballs on your content, means better user experience for your readers/ users/ potential customers.

Here's how the Google Code blog explains it:
To use the service, you need to sign up and point your site’s DNS entry to Google. 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.
So I thought, hey I've had a couple of people tell me they had trouble accessing the site (which based on my tests is likely due to browser issues) so this couldn't hurt.

I headed over to (the very non-Google-looking) WebPageTest.org, clicked on the Visual Comparison tab and typed in my blog URL. A little script told me the test was running to calculate what my current load time would be and how it would be if re-written by the Google Gawds. It took almost 5 minutes, and the page refreshed with my very own comparison performance report — click and ye can view.

And you know what happened? Maybe it's the blogger platform already being optimized. (Doubt it) Maybe it's my mad coding skillz. (Not likely!) But for some reason my site slowed down. Not hugely, but from 12.1 to 12.5 seconds. But that almost half second was enough for me not to want to use it on my blog. Seems my site is slow loading enough already thank you very much (due to all the embedded videos).

Of course, I had to play with it; I had to try a few other sites, so here are the results:
  • Google.ca: 0.09s faster (report - couldn't help myself but test Google's own site ;)
  • CanadaDayBarrhaven.ca: 0.181s faster (report)
  • Globeandmail.com: 1.123s (report)
So there you go. We've learned that my blog is slow loading and that overall, Page Speed Service could improve page performance by a second or so. While that may not be a significant change to a blogger, it could mean tons to a large, popular site that needs to serve up tens of thousands of pages per hour. Of course, one would think that in that case they would already be using a service like Akamai, no?

So, what about you? Will you use it? Are you using it? Does it help? Leave a comment!

(Source: Kevin Rose via Google+)