Google Chrome 103 is now available. The new version of Google’s Chrome web browser introduces support for the new pre-rendering technology, which Google believes will significantly improve the loading speed of Chrome pages.
Chrome 103 is already available for desktop systems. The browser updates automatically on most systems, but you can speed up the installation of the new update by loading chrome://settings/help into the browser address bar or by selecting Menu > Help > About Google Chrome.
Chrome displays the installed version on the page. It checks for updates and will download and install any update it finds.
Google fixed 14 security issues in Chrome 103, including one with a critical severity rating.
Chrome 103: Preview of the same original
The big new feature in Chrome 103 is that Google is prototyping the pre-rendering again in Chrome to speed up loading of web pages.
Google highlighted at the time that the new prefetch technology uses less memory than the old because of this. In a blog post on her Developer Blog, Chrome contributor Katie Hempinos noted that NoState Prefetch uses about 45MB of memory, while Classic View offers more than double that.
While reducing memory usage, pre-rendering will not be used on low-end devices. Google doesn’t give a clear definition, but devices with less than 512MB of RAM are considered low-cost by the company.
With Prerender2, Google aims to restore Chrome’s prefetch functionality, but without the issues, which included resource consumption, privacy and security issues for the previous system you used.
We are working on a design to address these issues, which have included unwanted side effects, resource consumption, lower infection rate, privacy and security issues, and code complexity.
Prerender2 is launching in Chrome for Android first, but desktop versions of Chrome will have the new feature built in in the future as well.
Adventurous Chrome users may enable certain flags in desktop versions of the browser to enable the functionality right away. Note that some features may not work as intended yet and errors may occur:
- load chrome://flags/#enable-prerender2 and set the flag to enabled; This enables the implementation of the new pre-render.
- load chrome://flags/#omnibox-trigger-for-prerender2 and set the flag to enabled; This adds the title bar triggers for pre-viewing.
- load chrome://flags/#search-Suggestion-for-prerender2 and set the flag to enabled; This enables the new pre-display engine for search suggestions by the default search engine.
We’ve already reviewed the omnibox preview in Google Chrome previously. Prerendering2 was only tested in contexts of the same parent at that time.
Other changes in Chrome 103
Chrome Platform Status lists several additions and changes to the technologies in Chrome 103. From a user point of view it is worth noting adding .avif files in the web share and accessing the local font.
Sites may use the new Local Font Access API to enumerate local fonts. Users have to give sites explicit permission to do so, which reduces the use of the new API for fingerprinting attempts.
Chrome 103 includes several changes that may be relevant to developers. The list is available here.
Now You: What do you think of these changes?