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Google Instant Pages Now Default in Chrome

Don't forget about the analytics implications

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Google Instant Pages Now Default in Chrome
[ Technology]

You may recall, back in June when Google announced Instant Pages. The concept is that Google begins loading the page it thinks you’re most likely to click on before you even click on it. This means, in theory at least, that results should load instantly by the time you actually do click on them.

Now Google has launched a new version of Chrome where this functionality is enabled by default.

“When we can predict with reasonable confidence that you’ll click the first result, Instant Pages will begin loading the webpage early,” explains software engineer Ziga Mahkovec. “By the time you click on the result, the entire webpage will often appear to have loaded instantly.”

When Google first announced Instant Pages, it raised some questions about how it would work with Analytics. A Google spokesperson told WebProNews:

Most website analytics solutions assume that one page load is equivalent to one user “impression,” or page view. Although google.com only issues the prerender hint when it is confident that it knows where the user will click, in some cases it will mispredict, resulting in a page that has appeared to load but was never actually shown to the user.  Although this will happen relatively rarely, in some cases it is important for the webpage to know.

Chrome has implemented a new API called the page visibility API that, among other things, allows websites to detect when they’re being prerendered. You can learn more about that API at our Using the Page Visibility API article.

Analytics and advertising solutions will have to be updated to take account of prerendering via the page visibility API. In most cases the end site owner shouldn’t have to make any modifications to his page; the 3rd party will simply make a minor change to the javascript that is pulled into publishers’ pages. You should check with your analytics or advertising providers to check if their scripts are prerendering-aware.

A month ago, StatCounter released some stats indicating that Chrome now accounts for 20% of the global web browser market.

Google Instant Pages Now Default in Chrome
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  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    This is an interesting point you raise about the pre-rendering and its effect on analytics. Did Google issue any advisories on their site in regard to this or is there just the spokesman’s statement?

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Crum

      I’m not sure. I simply asked Google about it after a comment from a reader raised some analytics-related questions.