An anonymous reader shares a post: Google Chrome for Android has a feature that gives Google Search an unfair advantage over its competition. Sure, it’s the default search engine and that’s a huge hurdle to overcome for any competitor. However, Chrome also reserves a performance-boosting feature for Google Search exclusively. I recently poked around in the Chromium project source code; the open-source foundation for Google’s Chrome web browser. The Chromium project is co-developed by Google, and other corporate and individual contributors. The project is managed and controlled by Google, however. I was looking for something else when I stumbled upon a feature called PreconnectToSearch. When enabled, the feature preemptively opens and maintains a connection to the default search engine.
The preconnection feature resolves the domain name, and negotiates and sets up a secure connection to the server. All these things take time and they must happen before the search engine can receive the users’ search queries. Preempting these steps can save a dozen seconds on a slow network connection or half a second on a fast connection. This optimization can yield a nice performance boost for Google’s customers. Assuming the connection only requires a trivial amount of processing power and network bandwidth, of course. Setting up the connection early can be wasteful or slow down the loading of other pages if the user isn’t going to search the web. There’s just one small catch: Chromium checks the default search engine setting, and only enables the feature when it’s set to Google Search. This preferential treatment means no other search engine can compete with Google Search on the time it takes to load search results. Every competitor must wait until the user has started to type a search query before Chrome will establish a connection.