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Summary:

Experimental code found earlier this week has found its way into the Chrome Beta for Android app. With a simple tweak it should speed up your browsing experience while using less wireless data at the same time.

Chrome-OS

The latest version of Chrome Beta for Android includes support for the experimental speed boost found earlier this week in Google’s code. There’s just one catch: You have to enable the feature for faster browsing. Luckily, it’s not difficult to find the setting, which uses Google’s servers to optimize web pages before serving them up on your Android phone or tablet.

First, make sure you have the latest update of Chrome Beta for Android — obvious, yes, but required. Next open a tab in Chrome and type chrome://flags in the address bar to see Chrome’s extra settings. Find the “Experimental Data Compression Proxy” mode, enable it and you’re done. So what happens now when browsing over a standard web connection? Google’s Chromium blog explains:

“This feature is powered by a connection to a SPDY proxy running on Google’s servers, paired with content optimization performed by our open-source PageSpeed libraries, specifically tuned for Chrome Beta on Android.

By using SPDY, the proxy is able to multiplex multiple request and response streams in parallel over a single TCP connection to your phone or tablet…   ….In addition, only HTTP traffic is routed through and optimized by the proxy, so secure (HTTPS) requests will bypass the proxy and continue to connect directly to the destination. Furthermore, DNS lookups are performed by the proxy, instead of on the mobile device. Turning on this experimental feature also enables Safe Browsing.”

Note that secured web traffic stays secure as it bypasses Google’s proxy servers. That means you won’t be giving up your online bank passwords or any similar data that uses an HTTPS connection from your Android.

Ideally, this service will not only speed up the mobile web experience, it could also reduce the amount of mobile broadband you use. All images from web page requests will automatically be compressed using Google’s WebP format, which uses less data than other popular image formats such as .JPG and .PNG. Google will also remove “unnecessary whitespace, comments, and other metadata which are not essential to render the page” for faster, lighter page loads.

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  1. Gabriel Brown Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Hi Kevin — what’s it like to use?

    Most of the sites I view on mobile are mobile-optimized nowadays.

    @gabeuk

  2. Marius Pranauskas Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Sounds something like Blackberry :)

  3. Looks like Google is doing a copycat feature of Opera for Android with Turbo mode (now called, “Off-Road mode” in the new Opera, with the new WebKit transplant).

    This is a cool feature Opera added for phones, back in 2006 to save 80% on your mobile data plan…

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