Robert Gibb [Update: Coming in Version 75] Google Chrome Will Add Image Lazy-Loading to Speed Up Page Loading on Mobile

[Update: Coming in Version 75] Google Chrome Will Add Image Lazy-Loading to Speed Up Page Loading on Mobile

Update 2 (4/8/19): Lazy-loading will finally graduate to the stable version of Google Chrome in version 75 next month.

Update 1 (8/14/18): Lazy-loading is now available as a feature flag in Chrome Canary. More information below.

Whenever you load a webpage on a web browser, the entire page is downloaded. This isn’t a problem on desktop devices or on mobile devices with fast Internet connections, but Google is always looking for ways to speed up web browsing on mobile in order to bring the next generation of users onto the web. Little optimizations here and there can make a major difference, and something like Lazy-Loading (via BleepingComputer) is a prime example of such an optimization. The idea here is that a website will only render images and text in the parts that the person can actually see. So unless the person scrolls down to the bottom, then those images and text outside of view aren’t ever sent from the server to your browser. Not all websites implement this for one reason or another but it looks like Google Chrome will be doing this for all websites in a future update.

This is a rather interesting feature as statistics have proven that page load times are much faster when developers use lazy-loading scripts on their websites. Average tests show that this can increase page load speed by 18% to 35%, but of course, this will vary from website to website. It all depends on how the website is setup and what type of content is loaded from it.

Google has already said that over 50% of their web search queries come from mobile devices these days so you can see how much of an impact this can make. Adding a lazing-loading feature in Google Chrome for Android will likely be a great addition for users in developing countries.  This feature will take a lot of work though as Google will need to redo some of their existing features including “Print” or “Save Page As,” so the browser can load the whole page before printing or saving a website.


Update 1: Live in Canary on Desktop

As reported by BleepingComputer, the latest Chrome Canary builds on Desktop now have feature flags that, when enabled, bring lazy-loading support.

chrome://flags/#enable-lazy-image-loading
chrome://flags/#enable-lazy-frame-loading

These flags enable image and iframe lazy loading respectively. BleepingComputer also notes that Google is working with the W3C to create an HTML attribute that websites can use to specify whether an element should not be lazy loaded.

Update 2: Coming to Chrome 75

A Googler developer on the Chromium gerrit published their intent to ship the lazy loading feature in Chrome 75 (via Reddit and TechDows.)

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