Everyone on the internet likes speed. Despite the fact that we only recently emerged from the dial-up era, users on their smartphones will still be tempted to break their expensive tech gadget if a video takes any more than five seconds to load. To help coddle the increasing impatience of users (and, yes, just to give us more speed), Google Chrome is adding a pre-rending feature that makes sites load more quickly. In many cases, sites loaded from the SERP will seem to load instantly.
How it works is this: Prerendering is a technique that’s been around for a while and that allows a site to tell the browser to pre-load content when they’re fairly positive where the user will be going to next. Examples of good uses for this technology include the next page in a checkout process, the second page of a two-page article, or the core link that a landing page directs users to. It’s a risky tactic because, if you guess wrong about where the user is going to go, their next move will actually take longer. However, if you’ve guessed right, the user will load the next page almost instantly.
Google’s SERP, in combination with Chrome’s upcoming version, is adding selective prerendering. In cases where Google is confident your search matches with a specific selection on the SERP, Chrome will begin loading the content from the site Google think you’re likely to visit. Assuming that Google has predicted your behavior effectively, the page you click on – including image or other media content – should load instantly. Of course, Google is proceeding with caution to ensure that they don’t slow down searchers in cases where the Google guess was incorrect; prerendering will only happen when there’s a very close match to the search query entered by the user.
To control how their site behaves with prerendering, including how page elements function in the background after those elements are pre-loaded, users can access the beta-stage Page Visibility API.
[via the Chromium Blog]