Google Chrome browser improves offline experience – puts cache to work

Two experimental flags available in the latest stable version of Google Chrome improve the offline experience. The browser will allow fetching content from cache when a site it not available. The features are hidden behind two experimental flags which can be enabled by typing ‘chrome://flags‘ in the address bar.

myce-chrome-offline

Enabling the flag #enable-offline-mode (Offline cache mode) will try to load the page from cache. This should prevent you from the annoyance of losing a page when you hit reload while you’re offline and obviously makes it possible to still show some content.

Without the feature users get an error page  when they stumble upon a website that cannot be reached because of network connectivity. On that error page there are two buttons, one that explains more about the error, the second for reloading the page. With the feature enabled error pages will have an additional ‘Load Stale Content’ button which allows loading the cache.

The second flag is #enable-offline-auto-reload  which is primarily developed for Android, but will likely also become on other platforms where Chrome can run on. The reason the developers target Android first is because mobile connections are often unreliable. Pages can be unavailable due to poor network connectivity and will end up on error pages. This feature will reload the page when the connectivity is restored or when cached stale content is available.