Image Credit: Google

Google has announced enhancements to the way reloading pages works on Chrome for smartphones. Originally, the reload feature was designed to fix broken pages, and refresh the page to represent new content that has been added since the last time the page was loaded. The existing methods for reloading a page, worked better with fixing broken pages, and was less efficient at representing added content, especially on mobile phones.

Chrome is arguably more than a browser: With over 1 billion users, it’s a major platform that web developers have to consider. In fact, with Chrome’s regular additions and changes, developers have to keep up to ensure they are taking advantage of everything available. Chrome 56 marks HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit cards as “Not Secure” in the address bar. Until now, Chrome only used a green “Secure” label to indicate when a website is using HTTPS and a neutral icon when a website is not using HTTPS.

HTTPS is a more secure version of the HTTP protocol used on the internet to connect users to websites. Secure connections are widely considered a necessary measure to decrease the risk of users being vulnerable to content injection (which can result in eavesdropping, man-in-the-middle attacks, and other data modification). The move follows similar actions by Mozilla, which released Firefox 51 earlier this week. Both browser makers plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure in the future, with the long-term goal of getting the whole web onto HTTPS. Google also wants to eventually change the HTTP security indicator to the red triangle that Chrome currently uses for broken HTTPS.

This improvement was made in part because Facebook got in touch with data showing that Chrome was sending validation requests at three times the rate of other browsers. Page reloading was originally designed in times when broken pages were common, though now users typically use the feature when content seems stale. To improve the latter use case, Chrome now only validates the main resource and continues with a regular page load, maximising the reuse of cached resources, which results in lower latency, power consumption, and data usage. Chrome 56 also adds support for the Web Bluetooth API on Android, Chrome OS, and Mac. This lets sites connect to Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices such as printers and LED displays with just a few lines of JavaScript. For more details, check out the Chrome team’s samples and demos on GitHub.