Google said today that the Android and iOS versions of its Chrome browser would now offer an option to compress data.

The option — which users have to enable manually — can cut data usage by up to 50 percent, according to the company.

Like competitors in the space, Chrome’s data compression scheme works by optimizing content and sending it through a proxy server (so yes, Google would have access to all the pages you browse, if that’s the kind of thing that concerns you).

As Google described the feature in a beta release, images are transcoded into more efficient formats and extraneous metadata gets reduced.

The data compression option can be found in Chrome “Settings” > “Bandwidth management” > “Reduce data usage,” Google said. It comes bundled with Google’s safe browsing feature that blocks sites the company has identified as phishing and malware.

Proxies are a technique long used by other mobile browsers, including Opera Mini and UCWeb. Last year, Facebook bought a company, Onavo, that compressed data across the smartphone, not just Web browsing.




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