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article imageGoogle Chrome can now save up to 70 percent of your mobile data

By James Walker     Dec 1, 2015 in Technology
The Android version of Google's popular Chrome browser now features an enhanced Data Saver mode which can reduce mobile data usage by as much as 70 percent. It is supposed to improve performance on slow networks and lower bills.
Data Saver has been available in Chrome for some time. It works by compressing webpages on Google's servers so your phone has less data to download. Images are resized and non-essential features disabled to minimise the amount of data required to successfully load a requested webpage. The feature does not affect secure sites using HTTPS.
Google yesterday announced it is rolling out an update to Data Saver that makes it even more efficient at compressing data. It will be available first to Android users in India and Indonesia but will expand to additional countries "in the coming months."
The headline change is the ability to save up to 70 percent more data using the new version of Data Saver. This feat is achieved by removing nearly all images from webpages when a slow connection is detected. The images are then loaded slowly in the background and can be displayed by tapping at the bottom of the screen or on the empty squares on the webpage.
Chrome isn't the only web browser with a dedicated data saving mode. Opera Mini, the mobile-friendly version of Opera, has always been based around such technology. The browser is less frequently used on smartphones but was once very popular on feature phones when mobile data was slow everywhere.
Similar to what Google does today, Opera compresses webpages on its servers into a proprietary format with a much smaller file-size. This is then sent back to the browser that requested it where the data is converted back to a webpage and rendered on the screen.
This kind of technology is known as a "thin-client" application where most of the work is performed on remote servers but the user is made to believe their device is operating as normal. Opera's OBML format can reduce the size of webpages by up to 80 percent in some cases so it remains the browser of choice for people looking to save as much data as possible.
Thin-clients come with some caveats though, detailed on Google's webpage about Data Saver. The way in which the server operates means some rich website functionality may not work correctly and sites can't access device hardware features such as location information. The compression algorithms can also lead to reduced media quality, creating blurred-looking images and fonts.
More about Google, Chrome, Google chrome, Browser, App
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