Google Evolves Chrome Data Saver Into New Lite Mode

A new update is now rolling out to Chrome for Android with at least one new feature that Google says is significant enough to warrant a complete name change. Now, users can expect to see substantial speed-ups too. That's because the browser will automatically detect if a page is expected to take more than five seconds to load up the first element -- whether that's text or an image. If that's going to be the case, it will automatically load up the Lite version of a page instead.

Not entirely unexpected and data savings remain

Google outlined exactly what a Lite page is last month in a blog post indicating that it was making improvements to the data saving mode. Lite pages are specially optimized and compressed via Google servers. When it's turned on by the user, NetworkInformation API sends a server request asking for the Lite version of a page by default. Aside from what developers can do, there isn't much difference and the browser itself will handle the data transaction.

That also means that the data will stay secure, Google says. That's because only the URL that's inhabiting Chrome's Omnibox. No cookie data or login information, let alone personalized page content, is shared with the search giant. The only purpose of the tool is to speed things up and continue saving data while minimizing the impact of large or poorly designed pages on the end user in a big to make Chrome feel faster.

As indicated in the previous notes from the company, a notice will crop up near the URL bar when a Lite page has been loaded Google is also enabling users who have landed on a Lite version of a page to revert to the standard version.

It will also learn to ignore URLs that are frequently reverted in that way so that, even with the tool on, it shouldn't get in the way where large sites need to be presented in their full format.

Data savings are intact as well and more data than ever before should be saved when a compressed and optimized page needs to be booted up. In fact, the search giant claims that depending on usage it could save users as much as 90-percent over just browsing the web without the feature turned on.

...but there is one caveat

The sole drawback to the update appears to be that Google will be removing support entirely for the Chrome Data Saver desktop extension as of Chrome version 74. That update is slated to roll-out at some point starting today, so users who have been taking advantage of the extension can expect it to go away. Google won't be turning Lite Mode on for desktop either -- relegating the feature to a mobile-only Chrome setting effectively as of its announcement.

Users who want to access the feature need to ensure that Google Chrome for Android is up-to-date with the latest version. Tapping on the three-dot settings icon at the top-right-hand side of the UI followed by a tap on the "Settings" option will reveal the new "Lite-mode" menu. That's underneath "Advanced" settings and also showcases an approximate percentage of data saved since being activated for those who turn it on.

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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]