Friday, May 25, 2012
In theory there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is. That’s why we prefer to try new ideas out in the real world and see which features actually helped users get where they want to go. In Chrome we call these tests Field Trials, and they’ve been part of every install steadily making Chrome better since day one. For example, Field Trials helped us improve our Omnibox pre-rendering by about 70 percent - making about 1 in 3 Omnibox navigations faster by a second or more.
If you’re contributing to Chrome, you should consider using Field Trials to help tune your features. Recently we’ve added infrastructure to help make designing and deploying these tests easier than ever. Field Trials will now have a regular update cycle similar to the one that delivers the newest version of Chrome to users, making it easier to rapidly release and retire new variations. We’ve also centralized the logic of which variations are active so that its easy for developers on M21 or higher to reset their variation state, using the --reset-variation-state command line flag. To learn more about variations of Chrome, check out Field Trials at the Chromium project.