I probably read too much behind Google’s latest annoucement about its Page Speed Service but still, I have to ask myself some questions. As I said yesterday, I do think Google Page Speed Service is a threat to all the consultants out there who are doing Web Performance Optimization. They mostly target SMBs and they’re going to struggle to compete with Google. It is also definitely a threat to the smaller web acceleration players such as Yotta, Torbit, CloudFlare or Blaze. Same goes for Aptimize who has just been acquired by Riverbed.
“offering is geared to small sites with little to no complexity, which is very different from enterprise offerings in the market. The new Google product will break pages; enterprise web content optimization systems have many systems that ensure this does not happen. [...] The features are basic and they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to acceleration. It performs a few basic acceleration features, some of which have the capability to slow down pages. [...] features don’t today address the most important performance challenges faced by the enterprise. It might speed up individual page but not transactions or flows (i.e., it will probably hurt conversion); enterprise WCO [Web content optimization] companies look across pages and examine user flows to ensure optimal flows instead of pages. Some of the major performance issues facing pages today not solved by the new product include 3rd party tags, consolidation of images, etc. [...] In the short term this is not a direct threat to the majority of the business done by top tier CDNs like Akamai and Level 3 as they make most of their money in the enterprise market, which this new offering is not applicable for. However, it will make the sales job harder for the small customers they target.” (source)
I agree with Josh. TODAY, Google PSS is very basic and offers the same kind of optimization Google Page Speed is offering (With a long list of limitations). But as we know, Google is all about increments. Start small, minimal, let’s have the community help, gives feedback and let’s see if it sticks. Page Speed was getting some good traction and usage, so let’s go to the next increment! Let’s offer it as a service and see what happens. Free of course, to get a maximum of beta users to flush out bugs, security issues and start releasing new optimization mechanism over time (Maybe some that will optimize transactions and flows …) Then it will be time to offer a paid service and target … the Enterprise market. And then Akamai and Level 3 will start to worry and it will be too late .. or will it be? Interestingly enough, Akamai took a beating yesterday, losing 20% on growth warning.
Ok, it’s not related to the Google announcement but … who knows?
Google has to start diversying its revenue and this might be one the way. If you put together this offering, and the fact that speed is a factor in page ranking, at some point companies will have no choice but to have their pages served by Google itself if they want to compete. Scary. After crushing everyone in the search space, can Google repeat with the Network? Maybe. In any case, there is definitely a clear trend and their 1Gbps fiber network for residential web users is just another “incremental” step …
Don’t get me wrong. This is business and business drives innovation and you can’t argue that Google hasn’t brought lots of it in the past 15 years. As long as it’s a fair game for everyone, I’m in.
As I said in preambule, maybe I’m reading too much into this announcement and Google just want to bring speed to everyone for the greater good of humanity After all, their corporate motto is “Don’t be evil” (unless it’s profitable? )