Google Chrome tries an experiment to speed up pages

Websites and web applications are becoming increasingly complex. That’s why Google is constantly working on improving the performance of the Chrome browser. The company is currently trying out a new experiment that could help speed up load times.

A long time ago, web browsers used to load the entire content of a page at once: images, embedded plugins, etc. Over time, browsers and websites have started to adopt “lazy loading”, meaning that certain content is not loaded until it is visible. For example, a site might not load a video in the middle of the page until you scroll to the bottom.

Google Chrome supports lazy loading for most embedded objects, like videos and PDFs, since July 2020 (and many sites had their own tricks before then). To not break anything, Chrome only lazily loads embedded content if the page allows it. However, Google is currently testing a new experience that will lazily load some embedded content automatically, without the page asking for it.

NEW FROM CHROME 103, AVAILABLE TODAY

This new experience, called “LazyEmbeds”, should start with 1% of users of the stable version of Chrome 104 (which is scheduled for release on August 2). Embedded content that meets certain criteria (hosted from a third-party site, source matches a list of, frame size, etc.) will not load until it is visible on the page, just like images and other embedded elements that have opted in to lazy loading.

Google hopes this feature will allow more pages to experience the performance and battery life benefits of lazy loading, without breaking sites. According to the explanatory document, “it is not uncommon for an embed to request and execute large amounts of script, which can have a surprising impact on the performance of the parent page – from resource contention to delaying preparation. interactions. »

Google said in 2020 that lazy loading YouTube videos on Chrome.com reduced mobile load times by 10 seconds, and lazy loading Instagram embeds saved more than 1MB of data usage. These improvements would be great to see on more pages, but we’ll have to wait for the results of the experiment to see if it breaks any sites. If it works, the feature should come to other Chromium-based web browsers, like Microsoft Edge, Brave, and Vivaldi.

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