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Did you know that the web browser on your phone or tablet waits three tenths of a second after you tap something to actually perform that action? You did if you're a web developer - it's a de-facto standard for mobile browsers, a built-in delay for the double-tap zoom function. But if you're on the newest Chrome beta, you won't see the delay, at least on mobile sites.

Why is this? According to Jake Archibald of HTML5 Rocks (a promotional and instructional project page from Google), it's because this delay is unnecessary if you're browsing on a page that's already optimized for mobile viewing. Since these sites typically restrict content zooming by double-tap or the pinch gesture anyway, there's no need for the artificial limitation, and Chrome can effectively run faster from an end-user standpoint. Archibald has an excellent demonstration above: notice how the browser on the left has a definite delay after each touch action. Here's the site from the demo if you want to try it in Chrome Beta.

2013-12-13 17.42.53

Mobile sites will need to be properly coded to take advantage of this, and the 300 millisecond delay will probably remain in effect for standard, non-mobile pages for the foreseeable future. Even so, it's an impressively simple way to increase performance with a very small change. Other mobile browsers may follow Google's lead here - Firefox already has a bug report and will likely implement a similar change soon. You can expect to see the delay on mobile sites disappear when Chrome 32 graduates to a stable build. Web developers, check the source link below for a technical explanation that will help you make sure your mobile sites are faster in Chrome.

Source: HTML5 Rocks - Thanks, Chromeguy

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Works like a charm.

    Here's the test page: http://jsbin.com/ONuQiZu/4/quiet.

  • Karlo

    On the "right"?
    I would say "left".

  • DHM47

    There is an option in flags to disable the delay in all pages

    • cool

      What's the option called?

      • Markus Ressel

        Disable click delay. Android
        Always send click events immediate upon a tap, even when it's part of a double-tap gesture. This speeds up navigation and other tap actions by 300ms on most pages, but means links and buttons must be avoided when double tapping to zoom. #disable-click-delay

        • didibus

          Hum, that's smart, they could just remove the delay when clicking on links.

        • cool


    • Zach Mauch

      Is this flag only in the beta? Can't find it in standard.

  • GreatNews

    Love this! Hope other Browser's will get this as well! Like they say "Life is to short to wait between each touch"

  • Simon Belmont

    I've actually been extremely pleased with Chrome since I started using KitKat. I never had any major issues with it before, on Jelly Bean, but with KitKat it just feels really smooth and responsive (a bit more than on Jelly Bean).

    Nice to see this 300 millisecond delay lifted on mobile sites for the next stable version of Chrome. Keep on trucking, Google.

  • tokuiten

    Frankly, I'd rather just have a browser that eliminates the delay on all websites, completely throws out the double-tap gesture, and strictly requires multitouch to zoom.

    • Matthew Fry

      Exactly my sentiments.

    • John Smith

      I concur.
      I don't recall the last time I used double-tap to zoom on my phone; I always multitouch. By now it's an automatic muscle movement.

      • didibus

        I double tap a lot, the difference is, double tap is more like a fit to page, where multi-touch is zoom. I wouldn't mind it if they found an alternative way though. Like a 3 finger touch or something.

        • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

          NO. Just No. Anything more than 2 fingers and it looks like the person is trying to violate the screen. Less accurate too.

          • John Smith

            but there's 4 fingers in a KitKat bar :->

          • didibus

            I know, I hated my suggestion as I was writing it, but I actually could not come up with another gesture lol. I hate the iPad's 4 fingers gesture, they are so bad

          • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

            Yep. When i try to switch between apps using the four finger swipe on iPad; this is how it goes ->
            1. Three fingers and thumb on right edge of screen; pinky finger folded like a hook. Swiping to switch to other app. doesn't work.
            2. Ugghh. Four fingers on right edge; thumb folded. "Come on, you sick SoB". No dice.
            3. Double press home button > multitask pane > swipe and tap the other app's pic. Finally.

        • bobEveryman

          When I double tap to zoom in chrome, it expands the content area that I'm viewing to the correct size and position. If I pinch to zoom to accomplish the same thing, it takes easily 2-3x longer to find the proper zoom level, and position the content on the screen.

          • John Smith

            good point

        • renegadedroid

          One - handed operation goes out of the window this way

    • Tim Harper

      That wouldn't work for those of us that use double tap..some kind of toggle maybe. Don't know if that's over complicating things, though.

    • Whyzor

      Not everyone uses Android devices the same way. Double-tap-zoom auto-fits the columns on a webpage to the width of your device (from phones to tablets). Also it allows one-handed operation on phones.

    • Hadi

      Well, you can just activate that in chrome://flags

    • BrandonWhite116

      I use one handed double tap and drag to zoom. I don't use double tap to zoom or multitouch to zoom. Its much easier.

  • google cannot code

    How they bring out a fix soon for..

    Not able to render most non mobile sites properly.. Mobile sites are mostly fine, 'slow clap'

    No working text wrap

    Text sizes on page being all over the place on web pages, with teeny tiny text followed by giant text from quote to answer.

    The massive battery raping, chewing up to twice the amount of other browsers

    The 'accidental' coding that slips into the main OS, where by 'accidentally' 'knobling' other hard working coders browsers.

  • andy_o

    Any word on hover support? I mean, the AOSP browser has had it for quite a while.

  • John Smith

    On the topic of Chrome. What's the meaning of "PAC support disabled because there is no system implementation" ?

  • duse

    Well I always enable "Force enable zoom" because I like to be able to zoom in on mobile sites sometimes. Will they re-enable the 300 ms delay if that option is checked?

  • didibus

    Can't they just detect sites that don't let you double tap and disable it for those sites?

    • Arcest

      You can still zoom with two fingers on sites supporting it.

  • Dan

    How about a "Disable freakin' double-tap" option in settings? Just let me turn it the hell off all the time. I don't ever double-click on a web page when using my computer, so why in the hell do I care about double-tapping on a web page on my phone?

    if you want the zoom-to-content thing, bind it to a two finger long tap. That way you're only slowing down that one option rather than slowing down every damned tap.

  • Trysta

    This sounds like another example of Google trying to be clever and in the process producing some edge cases that are really annoying. Some mobile sites have HORRIBLE amounts of margins that are just wasted space (like the old mobile engadget site). So I still double tap to zoom in on the words that I am actually trying to read. I would be sad to lose this to an imperceptible speed up of mobile sites which cause me the least problems speed wise on a mobile browser...

  • master94

    Hopefully this will make chrome as fast as the other browsers out there for Android

  • kfestus

    Would like to see s-pen scrolling sometime soon in Chrome browser. I think the bugs are worked out since EVERY OTHER FREAKING MOBILE BROWSER has it. Yes, I'm yelling at you GOOGLE, but only because I love you and want you to fulfill your potential.

  • letsplaay

    That's great, but will it finally have the quick controls from AOSP browser?