Chrome web pages should load faster thanks to a Safe Browsing update

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(Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Safe Browsing is a way for users to stay protected from potentially dangerous sites, but it can currently result in slow page load times.
  • Google has developed a new "asynchronous mechanism" for Safe Browsing that will allow pages to load while real-time checks are conducted.
  • The feature will start taking effect in Chrome 122, which will begin rolling out to users next week. 

Google is making changes to Safe Browsing in Chrome that will result in quicker page load times, it announced on the Chromium Blog. Safe Browsing checks to see if a webpage is potentially dangerous in real-time, but it currently blocks pages from loading until the check is completed. That is changing in Chrome 122, which is set to debut next week. 

Google explains that Safe Browsing conducts checks that are on the blocking path of page loads. Essentially, that means that a page cannot load until the check is completed. In turn, this extends the amount of time required for a website to load in Chrome. Google has managed to remove the Safe Browsing checks from the blocking path in Chrome 122, which is more efficient. 

"We expect this to reduce page load time and improve user experience as real-time server-side checks will no longer block page load, although if a site is found to be dangerous after the page loads then a warning will still be shown," the company says.

The new method for Safe Browsing, which involves "asynchronous checks," allows pages to load while communication with Safe Browsing servers occurs. Additionally, Google says diverting Safe Browsing checks outside the blocking path will allow it to test new artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. 

In a corresponding move, Safe Browsing won't check sub-resources of URLs moving forward. Safe Browsing previously scanned both top-level URLs and their sub-resources.

"In recent years, we've seen this attacker trend decline – large scale campaigns that exploit sub-resources are no longer common, making sub-resource checks less important," Google said. "Additionally, our advances in intelligence gathering, threat detection, and Safe Browsing APIs mean that we now have other ways to protect users in real-time without relying on sub-resource checks."

Google will also use Safe Browsing to check PDFs less often because it isn't "seeing widespread exploitation of PDF anymore."

Though some of these changes technically reduce the scope of Safe Browsing, Google does not expect browsing in Chrome to be less secure. However, it does expect load times to be quicker for webpages due to the shift in strategy. When the changes take effect in Chrome 122, Google doesn't expect users to notice much of a difference outside of faster page loading. 

Separately, Google is rolling out a new tool for Android that will help them stay safe on the web.

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.