Google plans to ship omnibox prerendering in Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 15, 2022
Google Chrome
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11

Google may soon integrate a new feature in its Chrome web browser that it calls omnibox prerendering to speed up the loading of certain websites in the browser.

chrome omnibox prerendering

Current versions of Google Chrome support prefetching as well, but the process is limited as it does not execute JavaScript or renders the page in advance. The main goal of the feature was to use less memory than full prerendering according to Google while still reducing page load times in the process.

Prerendering speeds up the process of loading websites as some content is preloaded. Google changed the prerendering behavior of Chrome in version 63 when it limited the functionality. While prerendering may speed up the loading of sites, it may also waste resources at times; this happens when content is preloaded that is never seen by the user, e.g., when a site with preloaded content is not accessed at all.

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Omnibox prerendering adds more elements to the prerendering process. In particular, Chrome will process the DOM tree construction and script executions. The browser limits the new omnibox prerendering feature to "high-confidence suggestions" only according to the intent to ship discussion on Google Groups.

We would like to ship omnibox (i.e., URL bar) prerendering. With this feature, Chrome will start prerendering the high-confidence omnibox autocomplete suggestions. Chrome is currently prefetching resources for high-confidence suggestions using No-state Prefetch, but with this feature we will be further processing the webpage, including the DOM tree construction and script execution.

Websites that are selected by Chrome for the process are "loaded before the navigation is committed", Google notes. Chrome will support a basic API that websites may use to find out if it is prerendered and when it was activated.

The new omnibox prerendering feature will be supported on all platforms that Chrome is available on. Google plans to introduce it on Android first before it becomes available on other platforms. Chrome users may set an experimental flag in the browser to enable the feature right now in Chrome.

  1. Load chrome://flags/#omnibox-trigger-for-prerender2 in the Chrome address bar.
  2. Set the state of the experimental flag to enabled.
  3. Restart the Chrome browser.

A demo page is available at https://omnibox-prerender.glitch.me/ to test the functionality.

The feature should be considered experimental at this point. Work on prerendering version 2 continues at Google.

Now You: what is your take on preloading? Good feature? (via Techdows)

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Google plans to ship omnibox prerendering in Chrome
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Google plans to ship omnibox prerendering in Chrome
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Google may soon integrate a new feature in its Chrome web browser that it calls omnibox prerendering to speed up the loading of certain websites in the browser. 
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Comments

  1. Neutrino said on February 15, 2022 at 7:22 pm
    Reply

    Gargoyle will do anything to get your cookies sent to them.

    1. OldGamer said on February 16, 2022 at 2:06 pm
      Reply

      Cookies… Too late.. Here comes an invasion of our daily lives, maybe ?
      *Chrome OS Flex*.
      Free OS for everyone, if W10 & W11 is a no-go on your older than six months computers.. Article about it ?

      https://borncity.com/win/2022/02/16/google-bringt-chrome-os-flex-auf-alte-pcs-und-macs/

  2. John G. said on February 15, 2022 at 9:22 pm
    Reply

    Very interesting new upcoming feature imho! :]

  3. ULBoom said on February 15, 2022 at 10:29 pm
    Reply

    WTF is wrong with Chrome that Google is releasing trick after trick to speed it up? My Chromum works fine, maybe a second or two max for slow page loads, most seem instantaneous. I do have a good ad blocker/anti-tracker working, is that the difference?

    Is Google serving SOOOOO many ads they’ve constipated Chrome? Do they have such employee bloat, MS style, too many have nothing to do beside pointless initiatives like this?

    It’ll make a slow internet connection probably seem slower and do nothing for a fast one. Disabling preloading speeds up browsing! Of course it does; this is really about sending ads with better focus that no one will look at just like all the other ads no one looks at.

    Chrome Google’s Exectutive VP of Advertising.

    1. matthiew said on February 16, 2022 at 2:55 am
      Reply

      Preloading has been in Chrome/Chromium since day one (and most web browsers have it too now). It’s one of the main reasons why Chrome has a reputation for being fast, but also a resource hog. This is just an update to something that already exists.

  4. Anon said on February 16, 2022 at 12:56 pm
    Reply

    works faster WITHOUT prefetch/preload/preconnecting ;)

  5. Yash said on February 16, 2022 at 1:05 pm
    Reply

    Never change Google

  6. Anonymous said on February 17, 2022 at 3:46 am
    Reply

    Prefetching and prerendering already privacy no-nos. Now Google wants to add an API so that websites will be able to detect prerendering more easily. I’m glad that Brave disables prefetching.

  7. nicolaasjan said on February 17, 2022 at 8:40 am
    Reply

    Firefox can disable prefetching reliable.
    Chrome/Chromium not so much. :(
    See:
    https://github.com/uBlockOrigin/uBlock-issues/wiki/Dashboard%3A-Settings#disable-pre-fetching

    > On Chromium 51 and above (including browsers based on Chromium 51 and above), this setting is completely unreliable, as it does not cause DNS lookups, preconnections and prefetches to be reliably blocked, because Chromium allows web pages to override that user setting.

    1. Neutrino said on February 17, 2022 at 7:05 pm
      Reply

      “because Chromium allows web pages to override that user setting.”

      If you turn the option on manually? Or regardless?

      1. nicolaasjan said on February 17, 2022 at 7:48 pm
        Reply

        @Neutrino
        As I understood it, it’s in both cases (the uBO option and Chrome’s option).
        uBO just switches Chrome’s option. The switch in Chrome is then greyed out and states it is controlled by uBlock Origin.

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