back to article Chrome beta promises super-fast URL loads

Chrome 17 has hit beta with the promise Google's browser will start loading web pages before you've completed the URL. The Chrome team blogged here that Chrome 17 loads some pages in the background and if the URL auto-completes then Chrome will begin pre-rendering the page. Google software engineer Dominic Hamon wrote: "Pre- …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "didn't provide any statistical data on how fast the new Chrome will be"

    Or how annoying?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like this bit.

    "Chrome will warn you that the file appears to be malicious..."

    as opposed to

    "Internet Explorer will assume it knows best and stop you downloading anything - ever"

    1. Ammaross Danan


      IE group-sources a file's malicious intent, just as much as Chrome likely will. Several tools and installers (php5 win32 installer for instance) get flagged as "not often downloaded" and you have to overwrite the system by using "Actions..." rather than the default DELETE button. As annoying as this may be, I am willing to bet it's saved countless computards from installing crapware since they can't figure out where the "Open" button is now. Looks like Chrome is just following suit. Just means less money for us free-lance virii cleaners....

  3. sebacoustic





    ... 5 mintes later ... HR dude walks in... "why are you surfing pr0n?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      ...this was my first thought. Well, not that specifically, but there must be plenty of chances for autocomplete to get it spectacularly wrong and cause you to unwittingly download something NSFW, if not downright illegal. This I do not want.

      1. countd

        Agreed, but...

        Presumably this will only apply to previously visited urls, thus making such an occurrence entirely down to one's own smutty habits?

      2. countd

        Ok, scratch that. According to the actual blog post this occurs "If the URL auto-completes to a site you’re very likely to visit", so it's all down to your perceived deviousness by the mighty Google. :-\

  4. Kevin Johnston


    Never mind the beta speed, look how fast the version count runs!!

    What is it with browser versions, first we have IE going from a crawl to a sprint. Next Firefox goes to a fortnightly major release. Now from nowhere 2-3 years ago Chrome has got to version 17!!

    If only the usability increased as fast as the version count.......

  5. Seanmon

    This is starting to piss me off.

    Apps/sites/devices that attempt to read my mind and guess what I want. You DO NOT f**ing know what I want. 80% of the time you are not even close. Wait until I have finished telling you, then do what I ask, you stupid bloody machine. That is ALL you have to do.

    Case in point: ending up with 4 entries for everyone on your phone because it thinks you want to synch with every halfwit you vaguely know on twitter/hotmail/facebook. Excuse me, when the fuck did I ask you to do that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's why, I have a Nokia 1112. No camera, black and white, makes calls. I also have an Android tablet. To me they fulfil separate functions, and are therefore separate.

      1. NogginTheNog

        Nice idea

        But I can't fit a tablet into my trouser pocket.

        1. <user />


          I can always fit a packet of Nurofen in my trouser pocket.

          1. NogginTheNog

            @<user />

            ...and I just thought you were mildly pleased to see me!

        2. Dr. Mouse


          Dell Streak 5-incher seems just about pocketable

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Dr. Mouse

            "Dell Streak 5-incher seems just about pocketable"

            Damn right - and very appropriately named because when I take mine into the bathroom for some "me" time, streaking is very much what I am doing ;)

      2. Hayden Clark Silver badge

        You need to upgrade to the Nokia 1200

        It has a massively useful feature. A built-in torch! (white LED mounted on the top)

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge


      "You DO NOT f**ing know what I want. 80% of the time you are not even close."

      Yeah, and in five years time, it won't be close 40% of the time.

      And in ten years, it won't be close 20% of the time.

      And in fifteen years, it will write the fucking neo-luddite flame for you.

      And in twenty years time, it will lecture you on why are wrong.

      Then, in twenty-five years, it will come back in time and write this post. I know, I am that device. So please, give us some time.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Because if you're allowed to think for yourself you might start doing things, random things and that means a potentially lost sale or ad revenue.

      The rate at which I am being pimped all over the shop by these ad agencies, via my details, I am expecting a knock on the door from the plod and accused of soliciting!

  6. John Latham


    Isn't this going to completely screw up page impressions?

    1. deains

      Probably not

      GA requires a bit of JavaScript code to run, which will probably be fetched with the rest of the page but likely won't get run until the user hits enter. And this is Google anyway, I'm sure they've considered this.

  7. Pete Spicer

    Either turn on incognito mode or go into Options > Under the Bonnet and uncheck 'Predict network actions to improve page load performance'

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seeing as Google have money to piss away, I might start sending them an invoice for my wasted mobile 3G bandwidth allocation.

    This shit is up there with videos that autoplay on web pages - mobile data is EXPENSIVE, not everyone has a unlimited* plan.

    * That are often not so unlimited.

    1. Ben Tasker


      Autoplaying vids annoy the hell out of me, I'll often open links in a new tab and 'queue' things I want to read. If some of them contain videos I start getting a mixture of sounds.

      It's as bad as when _every_ website wanted to play music in the background *shudder*

  9. Pedro Mendosa

    I Hope It's Improved

    I hope this isn't the same as the old feature where typing 'goo' would load Google's homepage (for example) because every letter you type sends another request for the page. Type 'google' and that's potentially six page requests instead of one.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL or

    Opps, Chrome picked the wrong one... Honest guv....

    Really, this is silly, I mean if it's going to be loading all the posibilities in the background, then that's really inefficient...

    But then consumers are idiots and fall for this crap all the time. Compare Chrome's marketshare to that of Opera, who make a far superior browser...

  11. CM

    Data chewing

    How much would pre-fetching on chance add to the costs if paying per MB? In other words, how about a skinny mode where slurping can be turned off.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lest we forget

    Firefox did this years ago. People forget that it used to try to guess which link on the page you were currently looking at, you'd click on next. Then it silently loaded that page in the background so that when/if you did actually go to that page, it would have to load it from cache rather than download it.

    It caused a stink, not least because of the worry about wasted bandwidth. And that was at a time when people were less mobile than today.

    Still, the operators are probably going to love anything that slows down the 3G experience, so that 4G will seem so much faster when it gets rolled out shortly. By then, the memories of fast browsing over early 3G networks (amongst all 4 users actually on them at any one time) will have faded...

    1. iamzippy

      FF Still Does, Kind-Of

      If you do any amount of web dev, you'll know that FF will by default pre-load any "link rel='next'".

      In about:config, make sure 'network.prefetch-next' is set to false.

  13. toadwarrior

    no way

    Sorry but that will give me a good reason to go back to firefox fully. I don't want to waste bandwidth if I'm on 3g, I don't want to add hits or accidentally load sites I don't want and I don't like the idea this'll add hits to my site that are potentially useless stats.

    If they're itching for features to add how about letting me add more than8 buttons for sites on my homepage.

  14. Pat 11

    zombie features

    like many Reg readers, i turn this kind of nonsense off. But had anyone noticed how these features, the ones that reveal information about you or cost you money, always seem to creep back into your life. They have to be repeatedly disabled on multiple devices. I think it should all be opt in only.

  15. mark l 2 Silver badge

    After my Virginmedia modem died last week and i had to revert to surfing over 3G and i managed to use nearly 300meg of bandwidth in just a day and this was no p2p or VOD (apart from some annoying blogs that autoplayed videos) just email and surfing. so if i had been using chrome while it was preloading the websites that it thinks i want to view this would have probably be nearer to 500meg.

  16. miknik

    Life is full of contradictions

    So to predict what is about to happen next, prepare for it in advance and serve up the end result as quickly as possible is desirable in the browser world?

    Sadly, after beta testing it with the gf I can confirm it's not such a hit in the bedroom. I can relate to why the version number is so high though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A CPU comparison

      "So to predict what is about to happen next, prepare for it in advance and serve up the end result as quickly as possible is desirable in the browser world?"

      Well conceptually it's little different from some of the optimisations done inside a CPU, and overall they seem to be quite successful.

      Is it desirable in the browser world? Probably. Yes, there are currently bandwidth issues, but over the years they will become less of an issue. However the one limit they won't be able to get round is latency (due to the pesky issue of the speed of light limit). Prefetching mitigates against that.

    2. Ben Tasker

      "Sadly, after beta testing it with the gf I can confirm it's not such a hit in the bedroom"

      Must've read that a few times today, but just got what you meant (feeling slow today)


    3. NogginTheNog

      More like..?

      Surely a better analogy would be Chrome slipping between the sheets and giving your gf some 'her time' whilst you're still removing your y-fronts and socks..??

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This won't make it to mobile or Google employees are stupid

    Think of the amount of bandwidth this is going to waste, both for the consumer and website operators.

    I'd say only 1 out of 10 times auto-complete feature in Chrome ever gets it right and only after about 5 first character inputs after the first 5 seconds.

    Also think about the false-positives on the website analytics based on server logs.

    They've gone an extra-step too far IMO in trying to beat the competition.

    1. Ben Tasker

      "false-positives on the website analytics based on server logs."

      For me that's potentially part of the point! When they wanted to start pre-rendering links you were likely to click, we were told "Oh Google Analytics will exclude these hits" and again, GA will most likely exclude the hits.

      Those of us who don't want to push logging data out to a third party unnecessarily are largely screwed in that respect.

      Oh and of course, Bandwidth wise - it's the same as the previous pre-rendering issue - you can add a bit of Javascript that'll throttle down anything bandwidth intensive until the window is actually open, but otherwise live with it.

      It's pretty shite really, and short of blocking every user of a particular browser, I can't see there's much you can do to fight back. I suppose you could set something up to only send a bit of Javascript when the page isn't actually being viewed, but it probably means crawlers will get a blank page

  18. Harry Tansey

    What about the server owners?

    Hey Google, this is *really stupid*. There's not enough detail to know for sure what the effects of this will be, but it sounds like the background pre-fetching could slightly or massively increase the number of requests to the web server, based on guesswork. Any URLs loaded that are not used will screw server-based analytics. It will also needlessly increase bandwidth for the user and the site owner, both of which can cost a lot of money as this multiplies up. A lot of web pages are now generated dynamically, e.g. by a CMS, and the servers may well start to bog down - at best reducing the response time for real requests and at worst causing serious performance issues. AVG tried this a while back - pre-loading results pages from Google to check for virii - and it caused similar issues and was removed, thankfully. Fasterfox also did id and similarly caused issues. Google - think! If you think this speeds up the Internet you're wrong - it slows down servers and costs everyone (but you) money. It's irresponsible.

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