Lazy loading now available in Chrome Canary builds, allows faster page loading

Google Chrome is one of the most popular browsers, and Google continually updates it with new design tweaks, features, and improvements to keep it fresh. The company has also split the development of its browser into multiple channels including Canary, Dev, Beta, and Stable, which allows it to test upcoming features in dedicated branches before rolling them out to users.

A new capability that has now been spotted in Canary builds of Chrome is "lazy loading", which allows significantly faster page load times.

According to Bleeping Computer, lazy loading has been available in the Canary channel for the past few days, since version v70.0.3521.0. Users eager to test it can head to chrome://flags on Chrome Canary where they can enable the following flags:

  1. chrome://flags/#enable-lazy-image-loading
  2. chrome://flags/#enable-lazy-frame-loading

Enabling these basically allows Chrome to load only those website elements which are visible on the user's screen, but will not load images or IFrames currently "below the fold" of the screen as depicted below. This allows for considerably faster page load times since the browser won't have to load all the website's elements, but will instead load them gradually; this concept is called lazy loading.

Image via PACE

Built-in lazy loading on Chrome was first announced back in January, when Google announced that the feature was intended for Android but if tests proved to be successful, it would be rolled out to Windows desktops too. Seeing that the capability is now available in Canary builds of Chrome, it appears that tests were indeed successful.

Google had to tackle many problems to implement built-in lazy loading in Chrome. Two particularly complicated use cases that come to mind are:

  • "Print" or "Save As" functionality, which ideally require a page to be fully rendered to be printed or saved.
  • Poor internet connection in which a user may have scrolled past some part of the website without realizing that images and IFrames hadn't been loaded.

Website creators who do not want their pages to be lazy loaded may have a way to avoid it in the future when and if lazy loading is rolled out for everyone. Google is currently working with the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) to develop an HTML tag which allows specific elements to be lazy loaded. There's no word yet on when lazy loading will make it to the Stable channel, but it'll likely have to pass testing in other channels too before and if that happens.

Source: Bleeping Computer

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