When you’re visiting a website on your Chrome browser, sometimes you have to wonder if the site itself is slow or if it’s your internet connection that’s lagging. Google is now working on a plan that will label sites that are slow and also give badges to those that can offer “high-quality” experiences, or in other words, those that are fast loading. They have not yet finalized the labeling process but they are looking into different ways to see which will be most useful and will make the most sense.
Google announced in a blog post their plan to identify and label websites based on how slow and how fast they will typically load through “clear badging”. But as to how they will be identified is something that they’re experimenting with as yet. A slow-loading website may find itself showing a “Loading…” page with a caution icon and text saying “Usually loads slow” so you can determine whether or not you want to continue to wait for it to load.
For fast websites, one way of identifying them would be to have a green progress indicator instead of the usual blue one that we see. Links will use the context menu to tell users if the site that they are planning to click on will be slow or fast. The goal is eventually to identify the sites that will bring high-quality experience for the users, not really to shame sites that are slow. But it should also encourage web developers to improve their site performance as early as now.
Google says sites will be judged not just on-site speed but on other factors as well. However, they didn’t identify what those factors are yet except to say that they will be using “stringent criteria” that they will be rolling out over time. For now, they are recommending that developers take advantage of their resources that are focused on improving site performance which includes PageSpeed Insights, an online tool for optimizing your site and Lighthouse which provides personalized advice on how to improve your site.
Google has not given a timeline yet on when they will be releasing the badges since they haven’t even finalized what it will look like in the first place. But they do want us to know that it is coming, probably as a way also for website owners to shape up or get tagged as slow and see their numbers fall down even more.