Google Chrome tests a “Fast page” label to denote websites that meet Core Web Vitals metrics
Over the past several months, Google has been rolling out Chrome developer tools to reduce page load times, enable secure browsing, and build native app-like experiences. Now, the company is introducing a feature that will highlight high-quality user experiences on the web. Starting with Chrome 85 beta for Android, Google will label links in the context menu that lead to a “fast page”. When a web page is labeled as fast, it means users navigating to it have historically had a “particularly good experience.”
Google says that historical data from a site’s URLs with similar structures are aggregated together when labeling. This historical data is evaluated on a host-by-host basis when the data collected regarding the URL is insufficient to assess speed or is not yet unavailable, such as when the URL is new or unpopular.
The new feature is part of Google’s Web Vitals initiative, which “measure[s] dimensions of web usability such as loading time, responsiveness, and the stability of content as it loads, and define[s] thresholds for these metrics to set a bar for providing a good user experience.” According to Google, when developers make changes to make web pages load quicker, websites will see usability improvements and increased engagement.
Although Google plans to “maintain alignment with Core Web Vitals as they evolve,” the company says developers should expect that “the definitions and thresholds of the Core Web Vitals to be stable” and recognizes that optimizing for the initiative requires investment. To that end, the company has updated its developer tools such as Lighthouse, DevTools, PageSpeed Insights, and Search Console to surface information and recommendations.
As of now, fast page labeling is being rolled out to Chrome 85 beta, but you can manually turn it on by going to “chrome://flags” and enabling “Context menu performance info and remote hint fetching.” Once this feature rolls out, users will see labels when they’re on Lite mode or if they have the “Make Searches and Browsing Better” option turned on.
In addition to labeling web pages as fast, Google earlier this year said it will start to rank websites based on “page experience” as soon as next year. If the search giant perceives that people don’t enjoy using a website, it will not rank as high in Search results.