Google Working on Data Compression Feature for Chrome for Android

March 3, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham

How many of you are using Chrome for Android as your primary browser on your Android devices? How many are using another like Opera? Well it looks like Google’s Chrome for Android team is working on a new data compression proxy feature that would speed up browsing. This method is similar to those used by Opera Turbo and Amazon Silk. Currently the feature is optional, but could be turned on by default when Google deems it ready. Which would significantly help out those that are still on EDGE or 3G networks.

Developer, Fran§ois Beaufort, first spotted this new feature in a Chromium build released last Friday. Just in case you didn’t know, Chromium is the open source web browser project that shares much of the same code and features as Google Chrome, and new features are usually added to Chromium first.

Now Google describes this new feature as “Reduce data consumption by loading optimized web pages via Google proxy servers.” Which using less data would translate into faster loading pages. Just as a comparison, here’s how Opera describes it’s Turbo feature:

When Opera Turbo is enabled, webpages are compressed via Opera’s servers so that they use much less data than the originals. This means that there is less to download, so you can see your webpages more quickly.

…And Amazon Silk:

All of the browser subsystems are present on your Kindle Fire as well as on the AWS cloud computing platform. Each time you load a web page, Silk makes a dynamic decision about which of these subsystems will run locally and which will execute remotely. In short, Amazon Silk extends the boundaries of the browser, coupling the capabilities and interactivity of your local device with the massive computing power, memory, and network connectivity of our cloud.

Although Google’s implementation would be a bit different since it would use the company’s SPDY proxy servers. SPDY, which isn’t an acronym, it’s just short for “speedy”, can you really call that short? It’s only missing two letters. But it’s a protocol that is developed primarily at Google to improve browsing by forcing SSL encryption for all sites and speeding up page loads.

You can enable this still in development feature by running the following switch (connecting your phone/tablet to your PC, turning on USB debugging and using the Android SDK):

adb shell ‘echo “chrome -enable-spdy-proxy-auth” > /data/local/tmp/content-shell-command-line’

It would be nice to have a “Turbo” like feature in Google Chrome, not that it’s not already fast enough. But we can always have faster right?