Google is planning some new visual changes to Chrome meant to motivate websites' creators to build faster sites. Summarily, the company hopes to add the cues first to the UI that's seen while pages are loading and later with badges that identify sites' typical loading speeds in advance.
No timeline has been assigned to the changes for now. But Google has identified a couple of ways it may approach accomplishing that goal and that will be almost exclusively in the user-side interface.
For example, the company wants to add badges to website loading interfaces. That will identify when a website "usually loads slow" for users. The messages will be based on historical loading times. In Google's example, shown in the Android variant of Chrome, it represents that with a red-colored 'warning' icon. It centers that just below pertinent information about a site during loading.
The company is also looking to change the color of the loading bar icon shown in Android. For fast-loading pages, Google wants to show a green progress bar just below the URL. That's opposed to the blue bar currently in use, which would still be shown for slower pages.
Those may also extend well beyond that based on a wider subset of factors too. Further down the road, Google wants to provide more information where their device or network conditions might be to blame.
This benefits Chrome users but turns the screws on websites
The changes are certainly going to be helpful to Chrome users that are on slower connections. But that doesn't mean any individual websites or site developers are going to be keen on the idea. Google's concept, as it's outlined, has the potential to do quite a lot of harm to site traffic for any given company.
That's also not going to get any better if and when Google begins implementing the changes.
Google says it will be introducing badging and other UI slowly, as it accrues more data about how websites it indexes perform. The effort is also stretching across more than just the team at Google. It didn't provide details about who those partners are but that will slow down the process. Similarly, it says it's taking the time to be "very mindful" and ensure it can minimize harm to websites.
The search giant says that working with other teams will ensure web developers aren't left in the cold. Or at least that they won't need to optimize for the new UI on an individual basis. It will also publicize details about best practices to ensure proper badging as the launch of the new UI approaches.
Regardless, the company also says it will be ramping up the criteria for the new implementation over time. So it will gradually become more difficult for a site to earn that "high-quality" ranking after the changes are put in place.
The ordering of the changes will probably result in contention
Google's changes won't do much to make the web faster in terms of the browser itself be quicker. What it will do is to provide incentive for developers to make their websites in Chrome load faster.
The company has already made plenty of changes to the browser itself over the past several updates to ensure that it's easier than ever to build a faster website. That includes everything from the introduction of web apps and associated retooling to taking on the burden of language translation at the browser level.
But the way the company seems to be approaching the Chrome change will undoubtedly sow unrest among those developers.
That's because the company is starting by highlighting where developers are falling short rather than beginning with a focus on factors that are well out of developers' hands. While the search giant will likely push forward to include indicators that show when a device or poor connectivity is to blame, it's effectively putting the blame squarely on developers straight out of the gate.