Google today announced it will ship caching for cross-site navigations for Chrome on Android. The company said the Back/forward cache feature will come later to desktop. As of now, the feature is available behind a flag on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.
Firefox and Safari have already implemented the Back-Forward Cache feature in their browsers. Chrome is currently catching up with them.
With BFcache enabled, browser caches the page before you navigate away from it, and lets you navigate to the page back and forth instantly via back and forward buttons.
Chromium team ran experiments along with Google Search to find out how much the feature will improve the user experience across the web. And from the results, they’re confident and are continuing to invest and develop the feature.
The company revealed its roadmap for the feature today.
From what they said and from the document shared in the announcement post, Chrome 86 for Android will add cross-origin navigations support and the following milestone will add support for same-origin navigations.
“We are planning to ship back-forward cache for cross-site navigations in Chrome for Android in M86”, the document reads.
In the future, the feature will gain more features and will be available on desktop platforms also.
- Here is our plan:
- Increase the size of the experiment with Google Search to further confirm some of the movement on key metrics and inform our roadmap of features and user journeys to support
- Short term:
- Launch BFCache for cross-origin navigations in M86
- Add support for same-origin navigations in a following milestone
- Longer term:
- Add support for more features to further increase BFCache’s hit rate, and add support for desktop platforms
- Work with Safari and Firefox, improve interop and standardize the behaviour.
At first, the feature will be available only on Android ” as the UX flow on Android is centered around history navigation.” and therefore will benefit more from having a back-forward cache”.
When Bfcache first made available as a flag, it warned the users with description: ” the feature as highly experimental and will lead to various breakages, up to and including user data loss”.
Now, the flag description has been changed to say ” if enabled, caches pages after cross-navigations.To enable caching pages on same-site navigations too, choose ‘enabled same-site support’.
Enable and test Back-forward cache in Chrome on Android
1. Launch Chrome Canary browser
2. Visit chrome://flags page
3. Search for “Back-forward cache”
4. Select “Enabled” from the dropdown and restart the browser.
5. Head to http://back-forward-cache-tester.glitch.me/ demo site
6. Visit some pages by tapping on the link(s) given below “Some links”
7. And navigate back by pressing the back button. The page will quickly load from the cache in Chrome.