SevenCubed - 5:26 pm on Nov 4, 2010 (gmt 0)
Does anyone else ever initially react to things like this by thinking along the lines of "Oh no, now everyone will have a fast site, not just people who know what they are doing!"?
As a matter of fact that was the exact thought that came to my mind when I saw the thread title yesterday. But since then I've had time to digest it and mull it over and have realized it probably won't have much of a competitive impact for a number of reasons.
First of all most of what that module will do I've already been doing manually. A lot of it is probably based on the Google Page Speed add-on for Firefox which I am a fan of and which I use to help me find ways to tweak a site and/or server performance. But will this mod_pagespeed make it easier for non-technical people to level the playing field? I don't think so because anyone who is aware of the existing Firefox add-on have probably already implemented the suggestions it provides anyway.
Typical sites that I compete against are usually hosted on shared services and often times will not have access to enabling those types of modules if they even knew about it to begin with. Hosting companies will probably be reluctant to enable modules like this just like very few of them had enabled the most basic ones such as mod_gzip/mod_deflate for compression. Why? Because if they have clients on capped resource plans (bandwidth) they loose out on a chance to garner some extra revenue for those who exceed their allotted monthly bandwidth ceiling. Compression modules and/or this new mod_pagespeed carries with it the potential to reduce client bandwidth usage by about 65%. That would be potential surcharges gone up in a puff of smoke. So, I don't think we'll see it applied universally.
In fairness to Google, I appreciate their initiative to try to "speed up the internet" because that ultimately does provide a good end-user experience. All that said, this is another situation where Google is not the creative source of this innovation. I have no doubt that they simple reverse engineered some of the fastest sites on the internet to find out what those techs were doing to accomplish blazing page speed load times then put it all together in this module for mass-distribution -- they didn't have to buy a company for this one though.