Google Chrome's Data-Saving Features To Make (Some) Websites Faster

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Google is improving its Data Saver feature, found in Android's Chrome browser, to provide even greater speed-ups and reduced data usage for users via an update to Chrome Lite Pages, according to a recent announcement made by the search giant.

The biggest change being implemented ties in with the web pages the tool can apply to. Now, instead of only affecting HTTP pages, it will also apply to HTTPS pages that encrypt the flow of data between a website and a user's browser.

That data flow will remain secure in spite of the feature too, with the company indicating that only the URL will ever be passed to Google — as opposed to other information such as cookies, login information, and personalized page content.

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What about changes on the user and developer side of things

With regard to what users will actually see from this change, there shouldn't actually be much difference in the UI at all. Data Saver has been around for several years now and will still be accessible exactly how it was before. Users simply need to navigate to the settings menu in Chrome on their Android handset or tablet via the three-dot menu on the right-hand side of the screen. Scrolling down will reveal a "Data Saver" option with a simple toggle switch.

Users will then be presented with "Lite" versions of a web page when a page takes to long to load or is too large. A message will still appear around the URL bar, informing them that has happened and it will save users as much as 90-percent in terms of data usage, the company claims. The primary difference is that will happen on pages across the board regardless of which site protocol is in use, Google claims.

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Pages will also still revert to the original page on a per-site, per-user basis if the user frequently loads up a given page in its original format.

For developers, the change is a bit more substantial. That's because Google is also aiming to help site creators optimize their pages for use with Chrome Lite Pages and be better informed about why any given page is reverting to a lighter version. As of Chrome 72, web developers can implement reports via the Reporting API to see details about when optimations are used, providing insight into what exactly might be triggering slower-than-expected load times and forcing a comparatively limited page view.

Building on a solid foundation and moving forward

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The latest changes to Google's Data Saver tool are among the biggest yet to be implemented by the company but that isn't the only place improvements have been made either. The new feature follows a wealth of speed-focused changes added in Chrome 71 with changes made across a number of different APIs.

Enhancements to Chrome's caching mechanisms and to how pages load in the first place are being implemented over time too.

The bulk of changes being made in Chrome over the past several updates have been similarly minuscule in scale but each of those effectively stacks to equate to a much larger savings overall.

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