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Page speed is an important factor in rankings and has informed design choices for years.  Webmasters have a variety of tools with which to test their site’s loading speeds.  Google has added one more: Page Speed Service, which purports to boost speed by 25 to 60 percent.  Is this just what webmasters need to ensure better rankings – or is it giving Google more power over sites?

Page Speed Service, which is a paid service, will allow Google to pull content from a publisher’s server so it can rewrite it, optimize it for speed, and then put them out on Google’s server.  According to Ram Ramani, Google engineering manager, “Your users will continue to access your site just as they did before, only with faster load times.”  What could be wrong with that?  Boosted speed, someone to do the tedious work of caching, compressing images, and other speed optimization services…but many experts worry that Google is overstepping its bounds.

Thom Craver, of Search Engine Watch, writes that Google is offering “tricked out hosting, not a page optimizer.  You have to set your DNS to point to Google instead of your current Web host. This means when someone types in your Website, Google’s servers will answer, not yours.”  Others echo this concern but wonder if it is worth it.  TechCrunch’s MG Siegler writes, “Okay, but isn’t that a little freaky, giving Google the ability to re-write and serve your pages on the fly?  Perhaps.  But if they really can deliver on the results they’re promising, it may be worth it.”

Google assures us, though, that they do not use the information they collect “toward improving search results or targeting advertising to users.  We may, however, use the information collected to improve the quality of Page Speed Service itself, including making pages serve even faster.”

Google hasn’t announced its price yet for Page Speed Services but indicates that it will be “competitive.”

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