Google wants to whizz up your website

When we heard that Google were shutting down their Labs program to focus on a narrower range of products, we feared this would spell the end of some of their wackier products. We needn't have worried. Of all the strange ideas to come out of the Googleplex over the years, this might be the oddest.

Google's new Page Speed Service has a straightforward aim - to speed up websites. But the way it offers to do it is fairly remarkable: to copy your site, hook, line & sinker, to Google's servers and host it there - complete with some performance improvements.

'Page Speed Service is an online service that automatically speeds up loading of your web pages,' explain Google. '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. In our testing we have seen speed improvements of 25% to 60% on several sites.'

Of course, this has raised some hackles. 'Perhaps I’m just paranoid, but I find the idea of Google sucking data directly off third-party servers, manipulating it according to some undefined set of standards, and serving it up again from its own servers a bit unsettling,' says John Paczkowski of All Things Digital. But on the other hand, fast websites are good... What do you guys think? Is this Google genius, or a bit creepy?

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