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Google Adds Two New Features To Chrome To Improve Page Load Times

March 18, 2015 - Written By Stephen Sard

With the release of Google Chrome 41 as well as the release of Google Chrome 42 beta recently, Google included some performance enhancements that should enable users to see faster page loads. Google let us in on two new features, script streaming and code cashing, on their Chromium Blog (source link below). These JavaScript techniques should allow users to not only load pages more quickly by reducing page loads in some cases by as much as 10%, but will also reduce battery drain by reducing compiling time by as much as 40%.

The first new feature, script streaming, will improve the parsing of JavaScript files. Under the old method, Chrome would have to wait while the entire script had downloaded before it would begin the parsing process. This method, however, is not very efficient as it underutilizes the CPU while the download of the script occurs. In Chrome version 41, Chrome will parse async and deferred scripts on separate threads the very moment the script begins to download. This will mean that parsing of the script will take milliseconds and users will see a possible 10% faster page load time. Google notes in their blog that this will be “particularly effective on large scripts and slow network connections.” This is important for mobile users, especially when running on slower connections such as 3G or lower.

The second feature is code caching. This new method will help page load times on pages that a user frequently visits. In the past, Google’s V8 engine would compile a web page’s JavaScript on each and every visit that a user makes to a given page. Once a user leaves a page, however, that compiled code is discarded due to the fact that the compiled code depends on the “state and context of the machine at compilation time.” The Chrome 42 beta browser will now use an advanced technique that will store a copy of the compiled page locally on the user’s device. This will allow the user to be able to skip the downloading, parsing, and compiling portion of the process which will allow Chrome to not have to repeat those steps resulting in a 40% save on compile time. Google notes that this process will save battery on mobile devices, which is something that certainly benefits everyone that uses mobile devices.

In order for any of this to have an impact, Google noted that not only does the browser have to perform faster, but it has to seem faster to the user. With these two improvements, users should be able to notice a difference in speed when loading web pages that contain the applicable JavaScript. Google ended by stating that they will continue to make announcements and improvements to Chrome’s speed as well as all types of performance to make the user experience better