Google announces Chrome Lite Pages, a way to speed up HTTPS sites on slow connections

Google announced today a new Chrome feature named Lite Pages that will improve page loading times for HTTPS pages on Chrome for Android.

Lite Pages will be part of Chrome for Android’s existing “Data Saver” feature, which debuted half a decade ago and until now only supported speeding up HTTP pages.

According to Google, the new feature will kick in “when the network’s effective connection type is ‘2G’ or ‘slow-2G,’ or when Chrome estimates the page load will take more than 5 seconds to reach first contentful paint given current network conditions and device capabilities.”

Chrome will then request a lite version of the HTTPS URL as it was cached by Google’s servers, and display this stripped-down version inside the user’s browser using a “Lite” marker in the address bar.

Chrome Lite Pages


Image: Google

Lite Pages, Google says, can improve page loading times by up to 90 percent on slow connections where they’d usually take tens of seconds, if not minutes.

Google says that when Lite Pages kicks in, Chrome will only replace static content such as images and text, but it will not touch other sensitive data, which will still be negotiated directly only between the user’s Chrome browser and the destination sites.

“When Chrome optimizes an HTTPS page, only the URL is shared with Google,” the company’s engineers said today in an introductory blog post.

“Other information – cookies, login information, and personalized page content – is not shared with Google,” they said.

To enable Lite Pages, Chrome for Android users only need to enable the Data Saver option in Chrome’s settings.

Chrome Data SaverChrome Data Saver


Image: Google

Users can also enable Lite Pages on all sites by using the #force-effective-connection-type Chrome flag to set the browser into a permanent 2G state.

Webmasters can prevent Chrome from loading their sites into a Lite Pages mode and stripping out ads by declaring certain parameters in the site’s headers. More info in Google’s official announcement. Google didn’t specify

More browser coverage:

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Google announces Chrome Lite Pages, a way to speed up HTTPS sites on slow connections
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