Spamming F5.

It's more than a meme among update-seekers and auction snipers — it's one of the most regular actions we take online, and whenever we refresh a page, our browser takes much the same steps it's taken since the 90's. And that's not good, especially when we're on the go with our Android phones on sometimes-flimsy data connections. The Chrome team is changing page reload behavior in Chrome to account both for our changes in computing and why we're hitting F5 in the first place.

Reload reload reload

In an announcement on the Chromium blog, the team describes the burden traditional page refreshes can put on both the user's connection and the page owner's servers, leading to reloads crashing out or stalling, especially on mobile connections. In looking to fix this, Chrome first determined why we reload a page: either a broken page, or outdated content. Traditional reloads deal with the former, but not so much the latter.

Google claims the new behavior makes reloads 28% faster.

To improve the reload experience, especially in regards to stale and outdated content, Chrome is simplifying reload behavior to take advantage of cached resources, validating the main content on the page before continuing with a regular reload in order to cut down power and data usage, as well as speed reloads up.

Google claims the new behavior makes reloads 28% faster, citing a Facebook report that reports faster loads and 60% fewer static resource requests. Facebook's report goes into far more detail about the nature of reloads and the benefits they saw from Chrome's change without having to do anything to their code.

At the end of the day, this is great news for those of us who wear out our refresh keys making sure what we're looking at is current and that no one's scooped up all the tickets/eBay auctions/Steam codes we want.