Google chrome is one of the most loved and used browsers today. The reason behind that is not just the progressive browsing experience it provides. It is, as the team put it themselves, also the constant focus the group puts on updates and users. As a part of their progress, Google announced this Monday that they will start adding “fast pages” labels to high-quality sites on the web.
The fast page label is a way to help users determine how “fast” and high-quality a page is. Those tags will be included on the context menu. For analyzing and labeling, chrome uses the Core Web Vitals, which are the metrics based on real-user experience. They take various aspects such as loading time, responsiveness, and the stability of content as it loads.
Along with the metrics, chrome also takes site history into account. If the URL or URLs similar to it has been consistently fast for previous users, it will get the label. However, relatively new sites with insufficient data can also achieve the badge depending on their hosts.
As of now, you can access the label and see whether the site you’re entering meets those criteria by long-pressing on the search result. Such names are provided to pages that meet and exceed the metrics for Core Web Vitals. The goal is to provide a high-quality user experience, says Google.
The fast page feature may only be limited to the labeling for now. However, in the future, search engine rankings might also be affected by it. The very same ratings will also be used to determine how fast a page is, and how high it should be on the search page.
This change will begin soon, starting with the Chrome 85 Beta, says Google.
What does this mean for Developers?
In the already competitive rankings, an additional evaluation metric might sound doubtful to the developers. Those who want to stay on top should watch out for three things:
- Loading time
- Stability of the content
Investing time on improving these metrics will help not just the users, but also the businesses with an engagement increase, says google. They should direct their efforts on continually meeting and exceeding the thresholds of the Core Web Vitals.
Developers should expect updates to have prior notice and a predictable, annual cadence.
– Chrome Blog.
To help with the quality improvement process, they have also updated their developer tools with information and recommendations. They also have a full report on the Core Web Vitals, assembled by their team of experts.
What does this mean for users?
This update on chrome is completely user-centric, so one should expect a better browsing experience. It should mainly be useful for those who are on slow or unstable connections.
Google also hints that the labeling feature, though now limited to search, might be expanded to other chrome features.
Labeling is currently being rolled out to the 85 Beta. Once the update is out, users will be able to see the tags in Lite Mode or by turning the “Do searches and Browse Better” option.
For the enthusiasts who want to see it live in action now, they also have a simple set of instructions:
chrome://flags and enable > “Context menu performance info and remote hint fetching
Google’s Need For Speed
Speed has been one of Google’s four core principles, and the levels they have gone to maintain that makes it obvious. Chrome for Android has been a huge area of its focus for smarter page optimizations. In 2019, it introduced the native lazy-loading function, where only the essential components of your page would be loaded in slower internet connections. The “fast page” seems to be yet another step in that direction.
Google also hugely leverages web developers in achieving their target. The ChromeDevTools has been pivotal in doing so. Additionally, Lighthouse is a tool solely dedicated to measuring and optimizing site performance. They have also started releasing the Chrome User Experience Report. According to them, they will also `include information on the fast page labels once it’s released on the report.
What do you think?
As avid browsers, the fast page seems to be a useful and exciting feature. But will it work as well as it sounds? We have to wait to find it out.