If there's one company that's been putting a full-court press on mobile Web performance, that company is Google. Sure, the company has this little platform called Android for which native apps can be built. But no single company invests more in making the Web faster than Google does. In fact, the company's engineers literally taunt native mobile apps when it often compares the performance it can squeeze out of Web apps (when using technologies like WebAssembly) to their native mobile counterparts. It's almost as if Google is on a clandestine mission to rid the world of native apps.
And, If you believe that conspiracy theory (as we do), then it should come as no surprises to you that Google has found another beachfront on which to wage its war.
The next time you go shopping for a mobile Web developer, you might want to check to see if s/he's been certified for building Web apps that meet Google's performance expectations. And, if you're a mobile Web developer, be forewarned. If you're shopping your skills to would-be clients or employers, you will likely be up against other developers who've been blessed by Google now that it has launched its Google Mobile Sites certification program.
In a blog post published earlier today, Google's Head of Mobile Sites Transformation Chris Hohorst noted the imbalance between mobile Web traffic and mobile Web performance saying "Google found that the average time it takes to load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds. When you consider that 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load, it’s clear why conversion rates are consistently lower on mobile than desktop."
So, Google is taking matters into its own hands -- as it is often wont to do -- with its Mobile Site certification program. Getting certified means passing mobile Web muster with Google. Wrote Horhorst, "To pass the exam, you’ll need to show proficiency across mobile site design, mobile UX best practice, mobile site speed optimization, and advanced Web technologies. Fortuantely, there is a study guide. And once you think you're ready, you can take the test.
One hitch though. To get certified, you have to become an official Google partner first. If you're not already a partner and you go to take the test, you'll get tossed into Google's workflow for becoming a partner. This "arrangement" raises some interesting questions. Anyone looking to hire or contract with a mobile Web developer might establish Google's Mobile Sites certification as a requirement. If the certification becomes a big enough deal along the lines of other certifications that are a must-have on certain resumes (ie: certifications from Microsoft or Cisco), it might not be long before pretty much every mobile Web developer on the planet has to be in Google's club in order to succesfully ply his or her trade.