Google to Charge for Page Speed Service

It has been reported today by Techcrunch, that Google are offering a new service called the ‘page speed service’.  I am thinking that the article I wrote August 2010 about the Google page rewriting patent application is related to this.

What Google are saying is:-

Page Speed Service is the latest tool in Google’s arsenal to help speed up the web. This service is also their most ambitious yet. When you sign up and point your site’s DNS entry to Google, they’ll enable the tool which will fetch your content from your servers, rewrite your webpages, and serve them up from Google’s own servers around the world. Yes, you read all of that correctly.

“Your users will continue to access your site just as they did before, only with faster load times,” Google notes. They say that applying web performance best practices across these pages should improve speed by 25 to 60 percent. Google will allow you to test out how much they’ll be able to speed up your site before you commit to it, apparently.

My concern in all of this is that we have seen google push its own properties into the Search results with products, local maps, news, and I have a real gut feeling that we might well see an ‘enhanced’ & ‘non enhanced’ split SERP. with those paying for the enhanced service appearing more prominently.

Once again I see the ‘don’t be evil’ mantra falling by the wayside, as Google chase more money.  For me the anti trust cases currently against Google are now paramount. In the UK Google owns search to well over 90% when you consider their search partners, and if they introduce a two tier enhanced and non enhanced system of search results, then that will slaughter the businesses of those who simply can’t afford to pay whatever it is that google charge.

More interestingly why should they? Google are proposing to re-write code, WHY?

What we have to consider here is that Google pretty much has no customer service beyond AdWords, and even then they operate a two tier system with you having to enter your customer number  whereupon a decision is made to put you to a real person, or to send you to email.

This has the makings of a total an utter catastrophe for those who can’t afford the charge.  It also has the makings of a total and utter junk-fest if Google local places maps thingy (or whatever they are calling it today) is anything to go by.  Google have regularly mismatched the content of multiple businesses that are unrelated. Lets hope this doesn’t spill over.

The other question here is that technically if google does give any preference whatsoever to ‘Google enhanced listings’ then those would become pay for position listings and would by law need to be clearly marked as such.

It is all getting very Skynet isn’t it.