New Chrome mode speeds up internet by blocking content

Chris Burns - Feb 6, 2019, 12:45 pm CST
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New Chrome mode speeds up internet by blocking content

Google Chrome developers are currently testing a mode dubbed “NeverSlowMode” by its creator. This function is not yet live in Google Chrome in any public form, but might soon be – if all its cards are played JUST right. The deal is that this code will flip a switch on the internet, making your internet feel very, very quick! Unfortunately, there’s a rather sizable drawback.

The code we’re looking at today doesn’t really speed the data up on the internet. Instead, it speeds the internet up by blocking the biggest data-hogging images, videos, and scripts of all sorts. Much like any number of ad blockers, this code would stop big internet media from making your web experience a bogged-down anti-adventure.

The difference between NeverSlowMode and an ad blocker is the way in which it selects content to block. NeverSlowMode doesn’t block advertisements – or at least it probably won’t, in most cases. Instead, NeverSlowMode works more like a responsible adult in a home full of kids – it budgets.

NOTE: We’re looking for the artist of the original artwork above (minus the chrome shield and laser blasts, obviously). If that’s you, let us know!

This mode would do a list of things to make internet browsing a more even-keeled, enjoyable experience. Budgeting resources would render the first-view quick and easy.

Initial Never-Slow Mode caps on data:
• Per-image max size: 1MiB
• Total image budget: 2MiB
• Per-stylesheet max size: 100KiB
• Total stylesheet budget: 200KiB
• Per-script max size: 50KiB

This script pauses all page execution beyond this until the user interacts with the page. That includes clicking, tapping, scrolling, and etcetera. Because Russel notes “tapping” as well as “clicking”, it can be surmised that this system could potentially come to mobile devices as well as desktop environments.

This system “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 code designer Alex Russel. “Budgets are re-set on interaction (click/tap/scroll). Long script tasks (> 200ms) pause all page execution until next interaction.”

As blogger Christian Kahle notes, this system and mode – or whatever you’d like to call it – is still a “very experimental feature.” It’s not live for most people in the world. It’s still very much in testing mode at Google’s Chromium Gerrit and at this point is just as close to implemented as not – so cross your fingers!


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