Google tests heavy page warning feature in Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 17, 2018
Google Chrome

Not all web pages are created equal. Some are heavier than others and if you dig down more, you will notice differences in size, script execution, use of resources, or cookies that sites set on the user system.

While Internet users with fast broadband connections may not mind if a page exceeds a certain size limit, say 1 Megabyte, users on slow connection may very well mind as it may literally take ages to get those pages to display in the browser.

Google tests a new feature in Chrome Canary at the moment that warns users when heavy pages are opened in the browser. Chrome displays a notification to users if that is the case that gives them an option to stop the loading.

It is rather interesting that many Google-owned sites, YouTube for instance, are considered heavy by Chrome as Chrome will throw the "this page uses more than" notification when you open the sites in the web browser.

google chrome heavy pages

The feature is only available in Chrome Canary currently. Since it is an experimental flag, it is possible that it gets removed again and is not added to Beta or Stable versions of the Chrome browser. It is also possible that the feature gets added to Chrome natively at one point.

For now though, you need Chrome Canary to enable it. Here is how that is done:

  1. If you are unsure about the version, load chrome://settings/help and make sure you run Chrome Canary 69.0.3493.0 or later.
  2. Load chrome://flags/#enable-heavy-page-capping in the browser's address bar.
  3. Set the flag to Enabled or Enabled (Low). The difference between the two is that Enabled (Low) has a 1 Megabyte threshold whereas Enabled has a higher threshold (that is not mentioned).
  4. Restart the Chrome browser.

For any page that is larger than the threshold, 1 Megabyte if you selected the low option, you will get a notification at the top that informs you about it and an option to stop the loading of the page right away.

You could just tap on the Esc-key on the keyboard to stop the loading or on the stop button if the loading takes to long. It would be more useful in my opinion if Google would display a progress bar of sorts to indicate the loading status as it would visualize the process to the user.

Classic Opera used to display the data automatically and Firefox users could install extensions such as Fission or Tab Progress Bar but the extensions don't work anymore and classic Opera has been replaced by Chromium-Opera.

Now You: Do you think that heavy page warnings are useful?


Google tests heavy page warning feature in Chrome
Article Name
Google tests heavy page warning feature in Chrome
Google tests a new feature in Chrome Canary at the moment that warns users when heavy pages are opened in the browser.
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  1. coakl said on July 23, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    What should be part of website design standard:
    Your site must load within X number of seconds on a machine that meets the minimum system requirement of the most popular operating system.

    For Win 10, that’s a 1 ghz processor and 1 GB of RAM (32-bit), 2 GB of RAM (64-bit).

  2. John IL said on July 20, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    Since Chrome is so popular, it will be interesting to see how web sites react to this feature. Will users begin to stop visiting sites that consume a lot of data? I would say many sites are horribly at this and that they continue to bloat their sites up even though many users complain. Almost ever refresh of popular web sites makes them less not more efficient. A lot of this can be blamed on ads and other banner type marketing that consumes a lot of loading time. Maybe since Google is so reliant on ad revenue it could actually do something to reduce this, rather then just tell you its occurring.

  3. Anonymous said on July 19, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    “It is rather interesting that many Google-owned sites, YouTube for instance, are considered heavy by Chrome as Chrome will throw the “this page uses more than” notification when you open the sites in the web browser.”

    100% agree. It’s what happens when you add unnecessary javascript bloat to your pages.

    The web clients for YouTube, Google Voice, Hangouts, etc. are notorious for loading a shitton of js frameworks (and thus use a lot more system sources as a result). I hope this new feature in Chrome will serve as a wake-up call to the developers of Google’s web products to ease up on javascript usage.

    1. Anonymous said on July 24, 2018 at 11:22 pm


  4. Anonymous said on July 18, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    This notification would annoy me more than the webpage taking its time.

    I also can’t understand Chrome’s downloads tray. Why would I want a tenth of my screen height covered with a bar that itself uses generally only a fifth of its width to display that one download I started?

  5. Koala Bear said on July 18, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    An adblocker fixes most performance issues with the web for me. The security is an added benefit. i’d just like to say that the new Chrome and new Material Design is completely hideous. It’s just fugly.

  6. Anonymous said on July 17, 2018 at 11:32 pm

    Wow, I just looked at your link and the sheer number of requests is impressive. LoL. With content blocking enabled I can’t think of many webpages that have more than 200 requests and to see a page with 2000+ requests was surprising. Page load time on my end for your link was just over 21 seconds for 2229 network requests and 2.9MB of data transferred, that’s pretty decent I think. I know of a bunch of sites that download more data but with mycroftproject the huge number of requests is what’s slowing it down. But still, 200+ requests per second is taking care of business. For page load times I’m seeing similar numbers with Firefox (21.3s) and Chrome (20.5s) with cache disabled.

  7. Douglas said on July 17, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    I don’t like heavy pages
    There’s nothing like a lightweight webpage

  8. Anders said on July 17, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    The nag flag returns.

  9. Anonymous said on July 17, 2018 at 6:12 pm
    1. ShintoPlasm said on July 17, 2018 at 11:30 pm

      Great add-on, thanks for the recommendation!

  10. Richard Allen said on July 17, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    I can see where the heavy page warning Might be useful for those working with a slower connection or have data caps but the majority of pages I visit are in the 1.2-3.5MB range (desktop) with just a few that go over 5MB which is the threshold for the Enabled flag. Mobile pages are generally smaller and I forced my phone to use a weak 3G signal but most sites didn’t break the 1MB threshold. When I did see the warning on mobile it was too late to stop the download, at that point it was already done loading. On mobile the threshold needs to be lower, maybe 700KB or less?

    It looks to me like once you dismiss/ignore the warning on a website the warning will not reappear unless you clear the history or cache and the warning will not be seen again even across browser sessions.

    I’m seeing the flag in Chrome Dev v69.0.3486.0 (Windows) and in Chromium for Android v69.0.3490.0.

  11. Tom Hawack said on July 17, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    I guess the heavy page warning applies even if the site’s data is cached; if so that would be bothering I guess. Otherwise, seems to me a valid option (given it’s a user’s choice). There are also pages which pain to render quickly even with little data, because of scripts, because of numerous tiny images such as icons (i.e. which used to be a bit long to finalize the rendering with Firefox previous to 57 Quantum).

    Whatever, maybe adding a whitelist feature would be welcomed. I’m not facing these schemes because I don’t run Google Chrome.

    1. Tom Hawack said on July 17, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      EDIT : not above mentioned itself, but result pages which include a myriad of icons such as which I’ve just tested and is still rather long to finish displaying even here with Firefox 61 (cache empty).

  12. Anonymous said on July 17, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Because progress bar is too lame.

    1. John Fenderson said on July 18, 2018 at 12:18 am

      The problem with a progress bar is that, in order to be accurate, you have to know how much data a page is going to give you. In this day and age of dynamically generated data, “infinite scrolling”, etc., you very often have no way of knowing how much data the page will give you.

    2. Richard Allen said on July 17, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      You’re right, a progress bar is lame. ;)

      Chrome doesn’t use a progress bar but Vivaldi does and it’s inaccurate from what I can see. In the address bar Vivaldi also shows a number that is supposed to indicate the amount of data downloaded and the number of elements needed, but the progress bar will finish while the numerical indicator is still changing. User input on a page can trigger more network requests which will fetch more data without any sign of the progress bar reappearing.

      Point is, it’s all wishful thinking (numerical indicator and the progress bar) to assume it’s accurate because neither one corresponds with what is seen in the network tab of the dev tools. I don’t see the point of anything more than a busy/loading indicator on the tab. Progress bars are a waste of resources, just my opinion, at least in Vivaldi the progress bar can be disabled.

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