It’s been a very long time since Google was just a search company. In the last 15 years, the company has launched operating systems, a web browser, a social network, an email service, a productivity suite, smartphones, tablets, media players, and more. Despite the fact that its product portfolio is becoming increasingly diverse, Google hasn’t forgotten its routes.
The company today announced that mobile search is now serving pages faster than before thanks to a new process called reactive prefetch. This new process is currently only available via Chrome for Android, hence why it can only speed up mobile search, and delivers pages 100-150 milliseconds faster.
Speaking via Google+, Google’s Ilya Grigorik explains that when you click on a search result, the browser will now fetch the destination page in tandem with other critical resources necessary for rendering the requested page.
“The key insight is that we are not speculatively prefetching resources and do not incur unnecessary downloads,” Grigorik wrote. “Instead, we wait for the user to click the link and tell us exactly where they are headed, and once we know that, we tell the browser which other resources it should fetch in parallel.”
The reason this is only supported on Chrome for Android is because it is the only browser that supports these dynamically inserted “prefetch hints” and the only one that allows them to persist across navigations.