Chrome will soon load new tab and other pages faster, thanks to Microsoft

Chrome page speed

Microsoft is working on a new feature for Google Chrome that
will improve the speed of Chrome’s internal pages on Windows,
Linux, macOS and other desktop platforms. The feature uses
caching to enable instantaneous page loading when users
navigate between internal pages (chrome://) of the browser like
the new tab page.

In a new Chromium
code commit, Microsoft revealed that it’s working on a new
“code caching” for scripts fetched via the chrome:// protocol.

“After loading and executing a script, V8 can serialize the
interpreter bytecode which was generated for that script.
Later, if Blink tells V8 to run the same script again, and
provides the previously serialized bytecode, then V8 can skip
the initial parsing step and the script runs faster. This is
important for page load time,” Microsoft said.

Chromium-based browsers like Chrome include some large scripts
in WebUI pages, and WebUI is used for some common scenarios
like the new tab page. Using a prototype implementation of a
new feature, Microsoft has observed a reduction of 11-20% on
time to first contentful paint on the new tab page.

Currently, many WebUI data sources opt out of using the network
cache and response time is not a meaningful indicator of
whether the script’s content has changed, and the response-time
comparison always rejects any data from the bytecode cache.

“The feature is currently disabled by default and can be
enabled by launching with –enable-features=WebUICodeCache. A
subsequent change will add configuration for a field trial,”
Microsoft noted.

Caching improvements for Chrome

Additionally, Google is also working on an update for its web
browser that will improve the loading speed of webpages. This

feature is called “back-forward cache” on desktop and it’s
rolling out with Google Chrome 92 for some users.

For those unfamiliar, the feature has long been available on
Android, and it allows users to load pages almost instantly
they click the “back” or “forward” buttons. This feature
attempts to keep a page alive when the user navigates away and
visits the same page again via session history navigation
(browser back/forward buttons, history.back() etc.

The company has been testing the feature for desktop for nearly
two years and it has finally entered the experimental stage,
with some users getting it in Chrome 92.

According to Google group
discussion, a release date has not yet been decided and
only some folks will be getting in Chrome 92. A wider rollout
is expected to begin later this year.

“We’d like to start an experimental rollout from M92, and
expand the coverage as we go,” the company said.

If you can’t wait for Chrome’s caching improvements, you can
turn on the feature manually from Chrome’s flags menu.

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