We love browsing the web. But nothing ruins the fun like slow loading. Everyone has felt the frustration of staring at a blank white screen, watching a spinner spin endlessly and wondering when their promised cat videos/celebrity gossip/Serious Journalism will load. We wanted something better: a plugin that would make the web instant. Like, actually instant. Click and it's there, no loading, no rendering, no wait. It had to be smart. It had to be unobtrusive, out of your way. And most of all, it had to be fast. And to our happy surprise, we actually built it.
How it works
Most of the time when you're browsing the web, your browser is sitting idle. We realized that we could put it to work: our extension works diligently in the background, fetching and rendering pages before you visit them. When you click a link, the pre-rendered page is swapped in faster than you can say Corgis.
But we can't load everything - on a big site, that would mean hundreds of background tabs eating up your precious Corgi-viewing processing power. Here's where the Machine Learning comes in. Our algorithms can guess which links you're going to click on, and load only those pages. We use two sources of data, each equally important: past behavior and current mouse movement. First, we look at other Turbine visitors on the same site. Where did they click? Chances are, you'll click there too. Then, we factor in your mouse movements. We've trained our own linear regression algorithm to predicate exactly where your pointer is heading. The result is a (pretty darn) accurate prediction of your clicks, meaning you get all the instant-web speed benefits without eating up your memory. Sweet.
So that's Turbine. The web, but instant.
Challenges I ran into
Implementing the back button was a huge hassle. You don't even want to know how it's done.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We actually built an instant web browser. That's sick.
What I learned
Very, very, deep knowledge of the Chrome extension API's. Almost too deep.
What's next for Turbine