Google wants websites to work more like apps, even offline

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Mariella Moon
September 18, 2014 8:42 PM
In this article: google, servicesworkers
Google wants websites to work more like apps, even offline

Google wants to get rid of frustrating 404 error pages and make websites still feel interactive even if you're not connected to the internet. So, the company has recently developed a new technology called "Service Workers," and Google software engineer Alex Russell talked about it at length during the O'Reilly Velocity conference in New York this week. To be precise, Service Workers is a new browser standard that will allow websites to store documents locally (similar to apps), in order to render cached pages or any other interactive content anywhere you are. Say, you're loading a website just as you enter a tunnel or reach an area with no coverage, you'll then see an older version of the site instead of getting an error message. As Russell puts it, "We want to load something instead of nothing."

Also, since the new standard stores data locally, it speeds up the website loading process. It first shows you the interface or cached page saved on your device, while simultaneously updating it -- you won't have to wait for a particularly large image to show up, for instance, before the rest of the website comes to view. Google still has to develop Service Workers further before we see it implemented on all browsers, but you can read more about how it works in Russell's paper published by the World Wide Web Consortium.

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