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Facebook helped make Chrome pages refresh up to 28% faster

Thanks to Facebook, Chrome's page refreshes are faster and more battery efficient.

Published onJanuary 27, 2017

Facebook has revealed how it contributed to Google’s Chrome browser to improve its efficiency. According to the Facebook code blog, its changes have helped make Chrome page refreshes up to 28% faster, with 60% less validation requests, and more battery efficient.

When you refresh a page, instead of downloading all of a website’s resources again, the web server instead checks what your device already has. This is known as validation, and it’s the reason that refreshing a page is faster than accessing it for the first time (similar to how app caches work).

However, Google says that “On mobile devices, the high latency and transient nature of mobile connections mean that this behavior can produce serious performance issues.”

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Thankfully, in Chrome 54 Facebook helped optimize the validation process by reducing what the server needs to validate.

“This new behavior maximizes the reuse of cached resources and results in lower latency, power consumption, and data usage,” wrote Chrome software engineer Takashi Toyoshima on the Chromium blog. Here’s a look at its effect in action:

Now, this doesn’t mean accessing pages in the first instance is faster, only reload speeds when they have previously been opened. Still, I doubt anybody’s complaining about faster refreshes with less power and data consumption.

What’s more, it’s effect also works in Firefox. Nice work, Facebook.

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