This tab upgrade should give Google Chrome a major speed boost

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Loading times on Google Chrome will soon be much faster with the release of a new feature known as “Freeze Dried Tabs”, which stores tabs as “interactive snapshots”.

In a post on the Chromium blog, Google claims that the new feature provides a “20% perceptible speedup” in cold startups of the browser on Android devices.

The new feature improves upon the previous method of displaying unloaded pages (via screenshots) by allowing users to click links and scroll across the entire length of pages before they are fully loaded.

Google Chrome speed boost

So-called “freeze drying” works by storing a page’s visuals as vector graphics, rasterizing them, and displaying them “dynamically as the user scrolls” alongside captured hyperlinks. 

Large images are left out of these new tabs, and unused lettering in font files, which can be as large as several megabytes, are removed in order to reduce page loading times.

In testing, Google found that Freeze Dried Tabs can “speed up the median time taken to draw all the content of the page to just 2.8s from launch”.

Google believes that the new technique used to load tabs will be especially useful for “transitional views” and for pages with particularly large pieces of content that would otherwise take a long time to load.

It claims that the layout of Freeze Dried Tabs and fully loaded pages being the same means that Google Chrome will seem even faster from now on, due to the transition from snapshot to full page being a barely perceptible change.

While Freeze Dried Tabs only appear in Google Chrome for Android at the moment, the company is “exploring additional places where this technology might be used”.

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