Google Chrome 103 is landing today with faster page loads and local font access

Four weeks have passed once again since the release of the last major version of Chrome, which means that it's time to receive a new build today in the form of Google Chrome 103. This release sports a pre-rendering mechanism that should significantly speed up page loads, support for local font access, and AVIF files in Web Share.

A Chrome 103 logo on the left with a rocket with Chrome&039s logo taking off on the right

We will start off with Google re-implementing the pre-rendering mechanism in Chrome. This was previously replaced by No State Prefetch, which is safer but doesn't really offer significant performance benefits. This is why Google has gone back to the drawing board to support the "103 Early Hints HTTP" response code (the "103" has no relation to the Chrome version with the same number). Google has described this effort as follows:

HTTP/2 introduced the concept of server push, a mechanism that allows a server to preemptively send data to the client. Server push was intended to improve site performance. In the years since, developers have generally preferred preloading from the client side of a web interaction. 103 early hints for navigation provides a new way to do that.

This should significantly improve the speed of webpage loading, reduce resource-hogging, improve code complexity, and tackle the security and privacy issues present in the initial version of this approach. Page loading will also improve through new speculation rules in Chrome 103 which will offer a "flexible syntax for defining what outgoing links are eligible to be prepared speculatively before navigation".

Additionally, AVIF files (.avif extensions) are now supported in Web Share. AVIF is a much more efficient format than JPEG and Google hopes that supporting it in Web Share will further its use.

Another Chrome 103 feature being hailed by web developers is the ability for web apps to use your local fonts to display content. Previously, cumbersome workarounds had to be implemented which involved uploading font files to the web app's server.

Meanwhile, the Federated Credentials Management (FedCM) API is going through an origin trial. This is yet another step by Google to improve the privacy of Chrome by allowing users to sign into web apps using federated identity providers with details of privilege levels being communicated to the user.

Coming over to the nitty gritty details that will likely interest developers more than consumers, AbortSignal objects are getting a new timeout() method that take milliseconds as an argument, a JavaScript API to modify the ARIA attribute directly, a raw deflate compression method for streams, an Element.isVisible() method which does exactly what the name implies, and the ability for web apps to forget serial ports voluntarily. Chrome 103 will also align with Firefox' behavior by firing popstate immediately after changes in the URL, you can find out the technical details here.

Finally, there are three features in developer trials this time around. Being in a developer trials means that they will need to be enabled from flags. They are as follows:

  1. Focusgroup

  2. Fullscreen Capability Delegation

  3. Support visual-box on overflow-clip-margin

A graphic showing the release dates for Chrome 103 as June 21 and Chrome 104 as August 2 respectivel

Chrome 103 will start rolling out in the later hours of today. If it does not automatically update to version 103 for you throughout the course of the day, head over to Help > About Google Chrome to trigger the update once it becomes available. Next up is Chrome 104 which will hit the Beta channel on June 23, and will land on Stable a bit later than expected on August 2.

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