One of the features coming on Chrome 86 for Android is called Back Forward Cache (BFCache). As the name suggests, the functionality is related to moving back and forth while browsing through websites.
With BFCache, Google Chrome will enable faster navigation when the user jumps from one page to another by keeping the previous page alive in the background. This way, when the user comes back to the same page, it will load almost instantly.
The feature will come in handy when a user accidentally clicks on a link and would like to return to the previous page. For reference, if you have an iOS device, you can swipe from either of the edges in the Safari browser, and the next or previous web page will appear without loading.
The back forward cache feature isn’t something new, and various browsers already have it. In addition to Safari, the BFCache feature is also available on Firefox, which means Chrome is the only one left behind.
Google says its behavior and effects aren’t well-documented. The company will also work with Safari and Firefox “to align our implementation and adjust the specs accordingly.”
The search giant also says that implementing the feature is easier said than done, owing to Chrome’s multi-process architecture. Google added that users are more likely to open previous pages in the same tab on Android, whereas PC usage is more tab-based. Hence, the feature will arrive on Android first as smartphone users will benefit more from BFCache.
Right now, there “is a non-trivial cost for launching on the desktop,” and these issues will be addressed later. If you want, you can try the back forward cache feature right now. It’s available as an experimental flag on Chrome for Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS.