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Chrome 56 Makes Page Reloads 28 Percent Faster, Improves Power And Bandwidth Efficiency

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In case you have not noticed, Chrome has just been updated to its latest build 56. While no hidden features have been uncovered yet, users will now be able to enjoy the announced ability to reload pages faster.

The change seems trivial compared to features introduced in previous versions but it could have far ranging implications. The Chromium blog post explaining the update has indicated that the technology covering web page reloads is a bit antiquated when compared to advances in other areas of the web platform.

Chrome Reload Inefficiency Solved

This involves the issue of a process called validation, which is analogous to saying Chrome is asking domain if its resources for a specific page is acceptable to use.

Until the update, reloads have been inefficient, affecting the performances of websites because they constitute a high number of requests that could overwhelm a particular domain given simultaneous requests from many users.

Developers specifically cite how validation could lead to serious performance issues for websites when viewed from mobile devices due to their reliance on unstable network data.

Chrome build 56 has changed things so that a webpage reload is now 28 percent faster, reducing the amount of the validation requests. Aside from the expected improvement in website loading performance, users will also achieve bandwidth efficiency and reduced power consumption when using portable devices.

How Does It Work?

The release notes explained that reload behavior of the previous Chrome build has been effective in solving broken pages. However, they were largely inefficient in addressing stale content, which involves old information for constantly updated pages, especially when using a spotty internet connection.

"To improve the stale content use case, Chrome now has a simplified reload behavior to only validate the main resource and continue with a regular page load," Chromium's Takashi Toyoshima explained. "This new behavior maximizes the reuse of cached resources and results in lower latency, power consumption, and data usage."

The reduction of validation requests has been complemented by the browser's new capability to draw new information while largely leaving the entire page alone. If a user wants a hard reload, which will ditch all content to execute full page refresh, he can merely hold the Shift key after hitting the Reload button.

Availability And Installation

Chrome 56 is now available to Windows, MacOS, and Linux users. It is not yet clear when this feature will get implemented on the ChromeOS.

If you would like to know if your Chrome has already been updated, just go to the application's Settings menu. When you click the About tab, your browser will automatically download the build in case it is not yet up to date. You need to restart Chrome for the installation to take effect.

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