A couple of days ago we heard reports of Google working on their own data compression system similar to Opera Turbo and Amazon Silk for the Google Chrome browser. How these systems work is by sending information requests through internal servers of the company which then optimise the data that is being sent one way or another. The end result is faster load times for users as well as bandwidth savings which is quite a handy feature for those using mobile data plans.
Well now we can see this new system in action in Google’s last iteration of Chrome Beta (Build 26) which introduces data compression amongst other features and fixes. Since the data compression feature is still in experimental beta it is disabled by default, but it can be easily enabled by typing in ‘chrome://flags’ into the address bar and simply pressing enable data compression before relaunching the app. This data compression will only work on normal sites, so secure sites such as Gmail, online stores won’t see any improvements in performance or data reduction which is important from a privacy point of view. While we can’t be sure of the benefits that would result from this system, my initial testing has shown a what seems to be a perceived decrease in load times, with the initial phase of loading a page being slightly longer, before the entire page loads almost instantaneously, but that might all be a placebo. I can report though there is a noticeable reduction in bandwidth usage. By typing in ‘chrome://net-internals’ then selecting ‘bandwidth’ I was able to tell how much bandwidth was used and saved during my test and assuming Google’s and Chrome’s method of measurement is correct I saw a 36% reduction in data usage.
Those aren’t the only features that are in the latest version of Chrome Beta, there is also the ability to sync passwords and auto-fill from the desktop, so once you log onto a site on either your phone or PC, the other platform will also have access to the same saved passwords, currently this feature isn’t working but except it to become available over the next few days.
If you want to tryout what is on the horizon for Google Chrome for Android you can download it now on Google Play for Free. The current version is stable, but missing some of the features that it is advertised to have in the current build, but these will be implemented over the next couple of days. Remember when your testing beta products and before you throw any sort of hissy fit over bugs or glitches, “Beta is Beta.”