Search giant Google will start rolling out a new feature in India to speed up web pages within the next two weeks. The company had earlier announced this feature at the I/O developer conference held last month.
Websites on mobile Chrome will get a ‘Network Quality Estimator’ (NQE), which will analyse the user’s network connection in order to optimise search results and subsequent landing web pages to load faster, giving higher priority to text and information over data-intensive images. The NQE will, in effect, change the rendering of web pages on a slow connection in order to make the web pages usable and fast.
Essentially google will transcode web pages on the fly to deliver the text first, and all else later. Users will still be able to load original pages if they choose to, by tapping an option provided in Chrome. Some pages are currently not transcoded, including pages requiring cookies, video websites and other websites that are challenging to automatically transcode. According to Google, the company’s field tests in Indonesia showed that transcoded pages loaded 4 times faster with 80% less data consumption and 80MB less of memory usage.
The company previously gave an example of the Times of India’s mobile site where it replaced the images with placeholders on slow net connections but retained navigation and logo links. Users would also get an option to load the images if they choose to view them. Google mentions the lighter version will kick in automatically when a slow network is detected. Users and devs can check here or here how a website will look once transcoded.
For developers: Developers can opt out of the transcode option if they so prefer by setting the “cache-control: no-transform” option in the HTTP header of their websites. Interestingly, Google will specifically label pages that opt-out of this feature as such, to indicate to users that the pages may take longer to load and may use more data. Developers should note that pages will not be transcoded if the user is on a fast network, on desktop or on a tablet.
For advertisers: As of now, Google mentions it’s working with Zedo and Sovrn to support their ads. The platform currently supports AdSense ads (obviously) and is working on integrating DoubleClick for Publishers as well. The company mentions it is looking to add more ad networks to this service, for which the ad networks need to sign up with Google.