Google speeds web searches on Android

Websites and apps should load faster from Google search for users of Chrome for Android following moves to prioritise slow-loading resources.

The patchy nature of mobile coverage means you can never be sure how quickly websites will load on phones and tablets.

While you can't improve a carrier's cell phone service, Google is taking steps to make sure sites load faster when someone finds them via Google search on an Android device.

The search giant is introducing a 'reactive prefetch service', where the resources that take the longest to fetch on a site are loaded in parallel with the rest of the site. The result is that pages should load 100 to 150 milliseconds faster when accessed via Google on the Chrome for Android browser.

Implementing the service required Google's search team to analyse which resources typically delay the rendering of the page when loading a site. The search page listens for the user clicking the link to the site and dynamically inserts links to the website content that should be prioritised. Those links are then used by the Chrome browser to fetch the linked to resources in parallel with the rest of the site.

Google web performance engineer Ilya Grigorik gives the example of how reactive prefetch might be used to speed up the loading of a style sheet that controls the look of a site.

function reactivePrefetch() {

var hint = document.createElement("link");

hint.rel = "prefetch";

hint.href = "/nexus/new/css/site.min.css?c=24977359";

document.head.appendChild(hint);

}

Google says it hopes to add the reactive prefetch feature to other mobile browsers in future, and is also working to bring it to the desktop.

The company has made various attempts to improve mobile search for users and developers, for instance recently allowing search results to link mobile users directly to app content.

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