Google Chrome for desktop is about to get a major speed boost, and hurrah — this one will benefit desktop Linux users too.

As spotted by the eagle-eyed hawks at Windows Latest, the browser’s dev plan to add something called “back-forward cache” to desktop builds of the browser. You may have already heard of the feature as it was enabled on Android last year.

Back-forward caches provides instantaneous page loading when navigating backward or forward. Devs want to experimentally introduce the feature on all of Chrome’s desktop platforms, i.e. Windows, macOS and Linux, in the upcoming Google Chrome 92 release.

Instantaneous loading on Chrome Canary (macOS)

“Back-forward cache is a browser feature which improves the user experience by keeping a page alive after the user navigates away from it and reuses it for session history navigation (browser back/forward buttons, history.back(), etc) to make the navigation instant. The pages in the cache are frozen and do not run any javascript,” Google developers explain.

The feature won’t be enabled for all users by default, instead being triggered through a gradual roll out process.

Users who want to ‘opt-in’ and try the experiment can do so by enabling using the chrome://flags/#back-forward-cache option available in recent versions of Google Chrome, as well as some Chromium-based browsers.

Cache options available will vary depending on your release, but may include experimental support for caching across all pages, or just those on the same site.

Enable it in the latest dev builds

In all, this sounds like a useful feature that will speed up inter-site page navigation (and potentially more). I back/forward through sites a fair bit. While I can’t say I’ve ever noticed any major slowness in doing this, clearly there is one or this feature wouldn’t be on the priority list.

From a change that speeds up browsing to one that speeds up sharing: Google’s Chrome team is working on an improved ‘share hub’ to make it easier to send web pages to other people and other devices.

h/t divyanka

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