Google announced today a plan to identify and label websites that typically load slowly by way of clear badging. The company says it may later choose to identify sites that are likely to be slow based on the user’s device and current network conditions, as well.
Google hasn’t yet determined how exactly the slow websites will be labeled, but says it may experiment with different options to see which makes the most sense.
And for links, Chrome may use the context menu to help users know if the site will be slow so you can decide whether or not you want to click.
In the long-term, Chrome’s goal will be to identify and badge websites offering “high-quality” experiences, which may include other factors beyond just the website’s speed. The company didn’t yet detail what those other factors may be, but says the identification process will include more stringent criteria that’s rolled out gradually over time. However, the goal will be to make these “good user experiences” something any web developer can achieve.
Google now uses a website’s mobile version when indexing its pages, and it offers fast AMP pages to help mobile users get to information more quickly. It makes sense that a next step would be to nudge site owners themselves to speed things up or risk getting labeled as a “slow” website.
This sort of feature would particularly help Google users in emerging markets, like India, where decent bandwidth is often lacking and low-end smartphones are prevalent.