Google has introduced a prerendering feature as part of its new Instant Pages. This allows some sites to load almost instantaneously when they are accessed on the search page. Prerendering will be integrated into the upcoming version of Google Chrome.
So what exactly is prerendering? When a user accesses a search page, the site automatically loads up the page it ‘feels’ the user is most likely to go to next. For example, while reading a multi-page news article, the most likely button the user will click is the ‘next page’ button. In this case, a site with prerendering enabled will automatically load the next page and it will become instantly available to the user when the ‘next page’ button is clicked. The most prominent effect of this is that loading times are minimized.
Loading times without prerendering and with prerendering
There’s a downside to prerendering, too. When there’s an ambiguity on which site the user will click next, prerendering might eventually slow down the site, which the user ‘clicked’ while it loaded the site it believed the user ‘would click’. This can lead to some frustration for users who generally skip between different sites without actually opening different tabs.
User’s wanting to test prerendering on a particular site can visit this sample page. Also, here’s a quick view of how Google plans to introduce prerendering: