Opinion

Chrome poses bleak future for insecure, slow-loading websites

Google Chrome cares about the browsing convenience that its users experience while surfing the web. Because of this, the world largest and most-used browser is raising the bar a little higher.

If you run a business website which takes more than two seconds (2s) to load and display search content, you might not like the outcome of the recently held Chrome Development Summit.

To put more precisely, Google Chrome, an internet browser used by more than 300 million people globally has announced it could shame slow-speed loading websites with ‘speed badging’.

“Speed has been one of Chrome’s core principles since the beginning – we’re constantly working to give users an experience that is instant as they browse the web,” Chrome revealed in a blogpost adding that developers have all visited web pages they thought would load fast, only to be met by an experience that some sites could be better.

“We think the web can do better and want to help users understand when a site may load slowly, while rewarding sites delivering fast experiences,” the Google-owned browser further warned.

The introduction of speed-badging is an additional development to Google’s quest to maintain user’s confidence on the web. Currently, sites without Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are flagged by chrome as insecure so that users are protected from the potential dangers of providing sensitive information to such sites.

An SSL certificate is the green padlock feature which the user sees on the address bar of any browser. Here’s how to distinguish a secure site from its insecure counterpart. A secure site takes the format of https://www.example.com while an insecure site is displayed as http://www.example.com. Read it again and spot the difference!

The first example carries the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, hence HTTPS. The following does not have the security aspect, hence HTTP.

According to Website Pulse, sites that continue to operate using an “HTTP” restrain any potential visitors and consequently affecting business aligned to such sites. Like I stated earlier, users will be warned by the browser about the security status of your website, and this will force them to either stay or visit other websites for products and services. Certainly, this will affect your business as the level of traffic drops.

Back to ‘speed badging’, Chrome did not specify when this wannabe embarrassing, yet rewarding feature shall officially come to effect.

“In the future, Chrome may identify sites that typically load fast or slow for users with clear badging,” it said. “This may take a number of forms and we plan to experiment with different options, to determine which provides the most value to our users,” added Chrome.

Badging is intended to identify when sites are authored in a way that makes them slow generally, looking at historical load latencies. Further along, Chrome may expand this to include identifying when a page is likely to be slow for a user based on their device and network conditions.

The introduction of speed badging shall not only apply to slow-loading sites as Chrome shall reward fast-loading with a green-loading bar.

As always, Chrome provides solutions and cautions before taking action. If you’re fretting and wondering what this development could mean for your online business, the time is right here right to act and escape the victim’s fate.

Chrome unveiled a number of resources for learning what opportunities are available to improve your site speed. To evaluate your site performance, check;

PageSpeed Insights, an online tool that shows speed field data for your site, alongside suggestions for common optimizations to improve it. Simply enter the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of site in the test bar and hit ‘enter’ from your keyboard to run search.

Lighthouse, a lab tool providing personalized advice on how to improve your website across performance and other best practices according to Chromium Blog.

To learn about performance best practices, check web.dev/fast – the Google’s learning platform with guides and codelabs on how to get your pages loading instantly.

Charles Lotara is a blogger, digital researcher, and self-taught web developer who’s also passionate about both positive and negative developments happening within the technological realm. Questions or comments? Reach him via charles@theinformant.co.zw, or follow him on Twitter @charles_lotara

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