Chrome Will Become Even Faster Thanks To Back-Forward Cache

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A new back/forward cache feature may soon make its way to the Google Chrome browser. This functionality makes it faster for users to navigate between previously visited webpages by saving entire pages, including its JavaScript states, temporarily into the memory of the computer or the mobile device after the user moves on to another webpage.

By keeping the webpage in RAM, the browser can immediately load the page without having to re-download data from the servers of the website and processing the elements of the webpage again. There are already early prototypes of this feature, and two videos that show how this feature works on desktops and smartphones are available on the Google Developers website.

This functionality amy significantly benefit smartphone and tablet users, since navigating back and forth between web pages comprise 19-percent of all navigations in the mobile version of the Chrome browser.


Back/forward cache feature is already present in other browsers, namely Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox, although Google notes that there are slight differences in the way the functionality operates between the three programs. These differences may cause some web pages or applications to not function properly across the three browsers.

Furthermore, given that the webpages are stored temporarily in the device’s memory, it could increase the RAM consumption of the browser. Developers are still creating rules that will help the browser decide whether to keep the page temporarily or not to reduce the impact of the functionality on the computer’s performance.

There are situations when Chrome may not cache the pages due to compatibility, resource, or privacy constraints, and even if it does save the content, portions of the browser have to be modified to prevent Javascript programs from running while the page is stored in memory. This step helps protect the privacy of the user. Moreover, since websites use a wide range of software tools, Google plans to limit the features that the back/forward cache will initially support once the search giant incorporates the functionality into the Chrome browser in 2020.


In hopes of enhancing the performance of its Chrome browser, Google is incorporating more features that improves the speed of loading webpages. One of the new functionalities that the search giant is developing is the “Never-Slow Mode,” which Google claims will make it faster for Chrome to process resource-intensive websites.

This feature would not load items exceeding the file size budgets allocated to them by the browser, and Never-Slow Mode will likely impact websites that employ large scripts. However, this feature will not result in a reduction in the data consumption, and it just disables the scripts from loading until the user interacts with them.

Meanwhile, a similar feature, called the lazy loading feature, delays the loading of large images and page elements until the point that the user will see the components of the webpage. This functionality enhances performance and speed by as much as 18-percent and 35-percent, respectively.


Google continues improving the performance and user experience of its Chrome browser, and the tech firm seems to have developed back/forward cache feature with mobile users in mind. The search giant will start testing the functionality later this year, and this period will allow web developers to adjust their webpages to ensure cross-compatibility with other browsers.