Could we soon be saying goodbye to First Input Delay (FID), Google’s Core Web Vitals metric that measures a web page’s interactivity? It’s looking highly likely.
Google is working on a brand-new Core Web Vitals metric – one that could (and probably will) make FID obsolete. Search Engine Journal’s (SEJ) Roger Montti first reported on this information after reading about it in an HTTPArchive Almanac article about content management system (CMS) use. One of the articles, peer-reviewed by several Google staffers, discussed FID in detail and mentioned that the Google Chrome team was working on a new metric for measuring responsiveness.
So, why do away with the one Core Web Vital most sites are passing with flying colors? The answer is for this exact reason: Too many sites are performing too well, and as a result, FID has lost meaning. The Page Experience Update has only been around for a few months, but, ultimately, FID’s goal has been reached – there’s not much more it can do for page experience.
What’s more, it’s the easiest Core Web Viral to get a great score on. And if everyone gets a trophy, no one gets a trophy.
It seems almost guaranteed that FID is on the way out. While we wait to see what a replacement metric might look like, consider reading Montti’s deep-dive into what we know so far. The article links to a Google web.dev blog that gives more insight into the new metric. In the blog, Hongbo Song, a software engineer, said:
“As a review, the First Input Delay (FID) metric captures the delay portion of input latency. That is, the time between when the user interacts with the page to the time when the event handlers are able to run.
“With this new metric we plan to expand that to capture the full event duration, from initial user input until the next frame is painted after all the event handlers have run.”
In other words, the new metric won’t measure single interactions but groups of individual interactions that form part of a user action.
Nothing has been confirmed yet, but it seems highly likely this metric will not supplement but replace FID as a Core Web Vitals metric, so we can’t get too comfortable just yet. Google always said optimizing for page experience would be an ongoing task, not set-and-forget. And with the Page Experience Update coming to desktop early next year, perhaps we can expect the new metric to be introduced sooner rather than later.
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