Faster Chrome? Google tests 'Never-Slow Mode' for speedier browsing

Google is trying out a feature for Chrome that aims to deliver a consistently quick browsing experience.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

At some point in the future, Chrome may gain a new feature, dubbed 'Never-Slow Mode', which would trim heavy web pages to keep browsing fast. 

The prototype feature is referenced in a work-in-progress commit for the Chromium open-source project. With Never-Slow Mode enabled, it would "enforce per-interaction budgets designed to keep the main thread clean". 

The design document for Never-Slow Mode hasn't been made public. However, the feature's owner, Chrome developer Alex Russell, has provided a rough outline of how it would work to speed up web pages with large scripts. 

"Currently blocks large scripts, sets budgets for certain resource types (script, font, css, images), turns off document.write(), clobbers sync XHR, enables client-hints pervasively, and buffers resources without 'Content-Length' set," wrote Russell.

The feature, spotted by Chrome Story, would set budgets and limits for various resources in a page, including images, stylesheet, scripts, fonts, and long script tasks. Each assigned budget would be reset when the user clicks, taps or scrolls.  

SEE: Sensor'd enterprise: IoT, ML, and big data (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

"Budgets are reset on interaction (click/tap/scroll). Long script tasks (> 200ms) pause all page execution until next interaction," wrote Russell.  

If the feature does join other experimental features hidden behind a flag in Chrome, the current description warns that enabling Never-Slow Mode could break content. That makes sense given that these slow pages rely on resources that Chrome could soon block.  

"Enables an experimental brow[s]ing mode that restricts resource loading and ru[n]time processing to deliver a consistently fast experience. WARNING: may silently break content, according to Chromium developers," reads the description

Previous and related coverage

Google Chrome could soon kill off most ad-blocker extensions

Ad-blocker developers fear their Chrome extensions will be wiped out by proposed changes to Chrome APIs.

Google Chrome to get warnings for 'lookalike URLs'

Chrome to show warnings when accessing mistyped domains.

Google Chrome to add drive-by-download protection

Firefox and Internet Explorer already have this feature, since at least 2015.

Google releases Chrome 71 with a focus on security features

Google improves Chrome's ability to filter abusive ads and detect shady mobile subscription forms.

Google Chrome 72 removes HPKP, deprecates TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1

Google security engineers also fixed 58 security bugs.

How to enable and test the new Google Chrome dark mode on Windows 10

Google Chrome's dark mode is currently under development. Expected to arrive later this year to the Chrome stable branch.

Microsoft confirms that Chrome extensions will run on new Edge browser

Microsoft's Chromium-based Edge browser could close the extension gap.

Google: Here's how our Chrome ad blocker is killing off pirates

And Google makes the case against using search copyright takedowns to combat piracy.

Google restores 'www' to Chrome URLs after user backlash

But not for long - they will be gone again by Chrome 70.

Google cuts fake ad blockers from Chrome Store: Were you among 20 million fooled?

Bogus ad-blocker extensions in the Chrome Web Store trick millions of people into installing them.

What enterprises need to know about the new Chromium-based Edge browser TechRepublic

How will Microsoft be able to maintain its own browser priorities once it no longer controls the destiny of its own browser engine? 

Google cracks down on malicious Chrome extensions CNET

A more rigorous review process that includes more humans seeks to better scrutinize extensions that demand lots of power. 

Editorial standards