Google Chrome’s future versions will have a feature that will certainly be well received by users: built-in support for lazy loading. It is a mechanism that stops a webpage from fully loading images and iframes if they are not visible on the user’s screen when opening the webpage. This feature is called Blink LazyLoad.
Google Chrome’s lazy loading
At first, the lazy loading feature will be available on Google Chrome for Android. However, the company does not rule out adding it to the desktop version in the future.
All browsers will load an entire webpage by default when we open it. It does not matter if we are connected to a 4G network at full speed or inside a restaurant where the network coverage is virtually nonexistent. If the webpage is large, it will obviously take longer to load. As a side-effect of this longer page load time, the site may be downranked in Google search results.
These scripts work by loading only the images that are seen at the top of the site, in the visible section. The lazy loading scripts will delay loading images shown below the visible section and only load them if the user scrolls down and the photos enter the user’s visible area.
Lazy loading makes said webpage load faster, avoiding losing time loading content that we will not see. If we scroll down to other sections, then they will load automatically.
This is exactly what Google Chrome plans to do. It wants its browser to load everything the user sees first and then load the rest, reducing the waiting time.
The only difference is that it will defer both images and iframes, unlike most JS-based lazy loading scripts that only target images.
Of course, this will be more noticeable when we use a slower Internet connection. As for phones, this can be something to take into account because they do not always have a steady connection, especially when we browse large webpages with a lot of images.
As we can imagine, we will save data besides having faster load speeds. For example, if we open a news webpage and we are only interested in the main news, the page will not load completely.
But let’s put it in numbers, which in the end is what matters the most. According to Google’s engineers, introducing lazy loading on Chrome will improve the load speed between 18 and 35%. Of course, it will all depend on the network we are connected to.
Problems? As with everything, lazy loading has its downsides. One of the most important downsides, which may be recurrent under a poor network coverage, is that users will not be able to download images below the visible area. This happens if we go through a tunnel and want to reopen a webpage to see the information below the visible area, for example. If we lose coverage or connection, we may not be able to load those images.