One feature that I have come to like a lot in the Firefox web browser lately is the delayed tab loading that Mozilla implemented some time ago in the browser (based on the Bar Tab extension). What this does basically is block the loading of open tabs during start until they are selected by the user (you find "Don't load tabs until selected" under tabs in the Firefox options).
Google Chrome does not ship with this feature and I recently noticed that the browser was causing slow downs on the system due to the number of tabs it had to restore. The tabs that I had open in the browser at the same time grew in the last weeks to about 50 and that seemed to be the main cause for the slow start that I was experiencing.
The loading can impact the whole system at the time. Up until now though there was not really anything that you could do about it since there was no extension or option to change the behavior.
So what can you do to stop Google Chrome from loading all tabs on startup?
The FooTab extension has been created to improve Chrome's start up time. It prevents all tabs but the active one from being loaded when the browser starts, so that the start itself is faster and not as taxing to the system.
What it does in detail? It blocks web traffic to all tabs but the active one for the first ten seconds of the browser start. This triggers the "this webpage was blocked by an extension" warning that you see on the screen instead of the actual website.
The extension enables web traffic again after the ten second period, and when you switch to a tab that has not been loaded yet, you will notice that it starts loading right away.
It offers in essence the same option that Firefox's native "do not load tabs" feature offers. The implementation displays page titles and favicons of the pages in the browser's address bar so that you can identify web pages even though they may not have been loaded yet.
To install the extension from there, do the following:
- Download the extension to your local system.
- Load in the web browser.
- Drag and drop the downloaded extension on the page.
- Confirm the installation dialog.
FooTab is the only option right now that prevents Chrome from loading all tabs on startup. It speeds up the loading of the browser significantly, especially on older systems and on systems where dozens of tabs are restored on startup.
There is one thing that I do not like about the extension. Even if you have loaded all tabs, it is still making API calls in the browser. It would be interesting to know why it does so.