Smoother scrolling in Chrome – turn off network predictions

One thing that’s annoyed me in Chrome is that sometimes scrolling can be a little choppy on sites like Google+. Sure, scrolling in Chrome is pretty choppy anyway, as it lacks any sort of scroll smoothing, but I noticed delays between line ticks while scrolling on sites like G+.

Today I noticed that if my mouse cursor wasn’t in the path of any links while scrolling, scrolling was a lot smoother in Chrome. What the heck. After some head scratching, I thought back to when Chrome got the ability to preload links before you visited them. This was part of a setting called “Predict network actions to improve page load performance“. Basically if you hovered over a link in Chrome, Chrome would load that link without the rendered page, so when you actually clicked on that link it would feel faster. It supposedly did this automatically with the first few links in a Google search as well.

My theory is that this preloading is causing the choppy scrolling in Chrome when my mouse cursor hovered over a link as it went by during scrolling. And so I turned off “Predict network actions to improve page load performance”, and voila, scrolling over links got smoother.

Not sure how reproducible this issue is, but it’s a big enough issue for me that I won’t be turning on that setting again.