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Chrome Beta For Android Gets Support For Experimental Data Compression On Google’s Servers, Reduces Data Usage By 50%

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Google just announced that it has released a new feature for the Chrome Beta for Android that could speed up web browsing and save bandwidth for mobile Chrome users. With this proxy feature turned on, all your web requests will be routed through Google’s servers, where the company then uses its PageSpeed libraries to compress and optimize the content. The actual connection to the browser from Google’s servers is then handled by the SPDY protocol, which optimizes the content even more.

Overall, using this proxy can reduce data usage by about 50%. Just using the PageSpeed libraries to transcode images to the Google-backed WebP format instead of JPEG and PNG makes a significant difference because 60% of all transferred bytes on the average page are images. The proxy, Google software engineer and “mobile web performance gearhead” Matt Welsh writes in the announcement today, “performs intelligent compression and minification of HTML, JavaScript and CSS resources, which removes unnecessary whitespace, comments, and other metadata which are not essential to render the page.” DNS lookups will also be handled by the proxy and turning this feature on, Google notes, also automatically enables the browser’s Safe Browsing mode.

spdy_proxy_google

To turn this feature on, visit chrome://flags in your browser and select “Enable Data Compression Proxy.”

Even when this feature is turned on, Google will still route all of the secure HTTPS connections from your browser directly to their destination. They won’t touch Google’s servers. The same goes for incognito tabs.

While all of this sounds a bit like the Turbo mode Opera offers on its mobile and desktop browsers, the difference here is that all of the page is still rendered by the user’s browser and all of the JavaScript is still executed locally.

Also new in this new beta version of Chrome is support for password and autofill entries syncing, which was previously only available for Chrome on the desktop, but the key feature is obviously support for the SPDY proxy service.