Google is looking to speed up web browsing in Chrome by making the browser lazier.
The Mountain View-based search giant recently pushed a new feature to its Chrome Canary testbed build called ‘Lazy loading,’ which helps speed up initial page loads by loading less content.
Google Chrome currently loads an entire webpage when users first access a URL. With lazy loading, Chrome will only load web content that users immediately see onscreen.
In other words, the browser loads what’s ‘above the fold.’ Anything ‘below the fold,’ or offscreen, won’t be loaded. This helps reduce initial page loading and reduces data-use on mobile devices.
While a cool new addition to Chrome, lazy loading itself isn’t a new concept. It’s been around for decades, according to Bleeping Computer, but was never implemented browser-side. Instead, the feature was implemented on individual webpages.
However, Google adding lazy loading to Chrome should help smaller web developers without the resources or know-how to implement lazy loading on their own sites.
Additionally, some developers won’t want lazy loading implemented on their pages, so Google is also working on an HTML attribute that developers can add to their websites that will disable the lazy loading feature.
It’s also worth noting that Chrome Canary’s lazy loading feature only works for images and iframes, which are used to embed other documents within webpages. A good example would be an embedded YouTube video on a website.
If you’re eager to test out this feature, you’ll need to use Chrome Canary. Furthermore, you’ll have to enable flags. To do so, simply type “chrome://flags” into the search bar and hit enter. Then search “Lazy” and enable lazy image loading and lazy iframe loading.
The feature was tested for Android first and is now available for Chrome Canary desktop users as well.