Despite being perhaps the world’s most popular web browser, Google Chrome is also notorious for being a resource hog, especially when it comes to memory and battery. Some also feel that Chrome can be a bit slow or even sluggish, especially as the number of tabs and sites you’ve been to grows. Of course, Google has also taken steps to make Chrome on desktops faster and its latest trick will be to make the pages you’ve been to load faster by keeping them longer in the browser’s cache.
Google calls this feature the back-forward cache or BFCache and it isn’t actually new. The feature was introduced on Android back in January with the release of Chrome version 88 for that mobile platform. Google is now planning to introduce that same feature for Windows, Mac, and Linux starting in a few months.
What BFCache does is practically keep a page alive for a little longer after the user moves away from it or closes it. On Android, this makes the web page seem to load instantly when the user undoes a closed tab or goes back and forward in history. For a mobile device that may have limited bandwidth or data caps, this could have huge cost and time savings.
On desktops, such limitations might not always be present but it’s still good to be able to jump back and forth pages in history without waiting for them to reload their content. It also gives the feeling of the browser being just that fast, even if it’s really using a trick behind the scenes.