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Chrome experimenting with indicators that highlight fast/slow site loading times

From the start, speed has been a “core principle” of Chrome and one that Google advocates for on the web. Google is now experimenting with loading indicators that inform users how long it typically takes for a site to load.

There are two parts to this push that’s still in development, and the first is to reward sites that deliver fast experience. The other is aimed at giving regular users an estimate for a site’s loading time:

…we have all visited web pages we thought would load fast, only to be met by an experience that could have been better. We think the web can do better and want to help users understand when a site may load slowly

This effort is still tentative, but Chrome “in the future” may identify and badge sites that typically load fast or slow. Google is specifically targeting sites that are “authored in a way that makes them slow generally,” and will factor “historical load latencies.” The hope is to get developers to optimize their sites, but critics will be fast to point out how this could be another push towards Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Early design prototypes include a full page loading screen that features a site’s favicon and “Usually loads slow” message with tiny red badge. Fast experiences could be highlighted with a green loading bar instead of the standard blue. A context-menu for links “could enable insight into typical site speeds so you’re aware before you navigate.”

Chrome loading indicators

This process will take some time, and the Chrome team is collaborating with other parts of Google working on site labelling to ensure a consistent badge experience.

Our plan to identify sites that are fast or slow will take place in gradual steps, based on increasingly stringent criteria. Our long-term goal is to define badging for high-quality experiences, which may include signals beyond just speed.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: