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.


Chrome, Facebook, Google+, Twitter ... share you privacy as heavy as you can. Let everybody and every system know, who you are, where you are, what you do and when you left the toilet to get instant personalized ad's. Great Google! Omg, I don't have any of Googles services or devices and I still feel free by using my Mac, my iPhone or my iPad. Ad free. Why not. Google, I don't want and I don't need you tools to control my life. Bye ...

Andrew Lochart
Andrew Lochart

Sigh. Yet another web optimization solution that closes the barn door after the horse has escaped. The best way to deal with web optimization is by ensuring that the browser doesn't needlessly request content that it has previously downloaded. You can eliminate 80% of data and also reduce signaling traffic on mobile devices.

Walt French
Walt French

@Andrew Lochart I'm hardly an authority on this, but it sure seems that if I view a story on iOS Safari that I previously opened within Twitter or some other embedded browser, it opens almost immediately.

Suggesting that your proposal has already been implemented by Apple.

Maybe somebody who knows for sure could comment.

Marc (DarcFlii LLC)
Marc (DarcFlii LLC)

@Walt French @Andrew Lochart You are partially correct, Safari caches pages but it does not compress them. Even though they seem like they are doing similar things (fast load)...they aren't. Chrome is proposing something a lot more intrusive. What this article doesn't mention is that..when you compress things -- they lose quality. Your website images will look like gameboy photos. 


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