Experimental new Webpagetest feature lets you test sites on Chrome

I’m always excited any time WebPagetest announces a new feature, and the recent announcement of the experimental new Chrome feature is no exception. At the risk of being labelled “that guy who runs a bunch of tests every time a new performance measurement tool comes out,” I… well… I ran a bunch of tests.

The test subjects were some of the winners of Gomez’s “Best of the Web” performance awards. I wanted to see how they performed across all of WPT’s current browsers, from the Dulles, VA, location. Here are the results of a simple load time test:

Website IE7 IE8 IE9 Chrome
BB&T 2.182 2.688 1.653 2.279
Regions Bank 1.876 2.489 1.736 1.515
Capital One 5.941 4.556 6.075 5.017
Fidelity 1.882 2.651 1.853 1.621
United Health 4.032 2.001 1.995 1.917
CBS News 15.354 15.335 12.668 15.047
Newegg 7.757 4.543 4.684 4.374
QVC 4.012 3.275 3.340 5.276
Delta 5.017 3.846 5.302 4.406
Radisson 9.779 11.530 8.016 8.560
JetBlue 9.654 7.767 5.580 6.083
FEMA 2.922 2.587 2.407 2.432

No big surprises or inexplicable anomalies here. For example, when I looked at the waterfalls for the sites that seemed to perform better in Internet Explorer 7 than they did in Chrome, the issues seemed to be code-related, not test-related.

Overall, the Chrome tests worked great, albeit in a currently limited capacity. (Right now, these are a few of the features that are not yet active: optimization checks, HTTPS, SPDY, content blocking, and above the fold time.) As Patrick Meenan notes in his announcement on the WPT forums, the new Chrome feature is “still very much in development, but I think it’s far enough along to be valuable and to start collecting feedback from you guys.”

All in all, this is a great new development — the first milestone in the three-stage roadmap that Pat announced in January. I’m looking forward to the launch of the Firefox and Android tests.

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