The latest version of Google's Chrome browser is faster and more secure than previous versions -- up to 28 percent faster. The new version, Chrome v56, is due to be rolled out over the next few days and weeks, the company said.
The change behind the faster loading speeds has to do with the way the browser validates information when reloading a page. In addition to being faster, the new behavior also results in up to 60 percent fewer validation requests, which should also help save on bandwidth and power, two major concerns for enterprise users, according to Google.
Simplified Reload Behavior
"When reloading a page, browsers will check with the web server if cached resources are still usable, a process known as validation," Takashi Toyoshima wrote on Google's Chromium blog yesterday. "This typically results in hundreds of network requests per page issued to dozens of domains. On mobile devices, the high latency and transient nature of mobile connections mean that this behavior can produce serious performance issues."
Toyoshima said that users typically reload either because pages are broken or the content seems stale. Chrome’s existing reload behavior usually solves broken pages, but stale content is inefficiently addressed by a regular reload, especially on mobile devices.
"This feature was originally designed in times when broken pages were quite common, so it was reasonable to address both use cases at once," Toyoshima said. However, this original concern has now become far less relevant as the quality of Web pages has increased.
To improve the stale content use case, Chrome now has a simplified reload behavior to only validate the main resource and continue with a regular page load. This new behavior maximizes the reuse of cached resources and results in lower latency, power consumption and data usage, according to Google.
The company said it worked with both Facebook and Mozilla, the company behind the open-source Firefox browser, to develop the faster validation behavior.
HTTP Warnings for Banking Web sites
Faster speeds are not the only improvement in the new Chrome version. Version 56 will also include 51 different security fixes for the Windows, macOS and Linux operating systems to help make the browser safer to use. Among the fixes is a new tool that will flag pages that collect information about banks and accounts using the HTTP protocol, rather than the more secure HTTPS protocol.
Chrome users will see a label reading "Not Secure" in the address bar to hammer the point home. Firefox, which worked with Chrome on the security fix, will also be introducing a similar feature as it rolls out its next update.
In addition, the new Chrome version adds Web Bluetooth API support on Android, Chrome OS, and macOS to make it possible for sites to interact with low-energy Bluetooth devices.