Users of Chrome’s mobile app might soon be able to surf the web and download files even faster, thanks to a feature Google is testing in its latest version of its mobile browser.
According to Google+ user François Beaufort Google’s Chrome Team is “experimenting on reducing data consumption by loading optimized web pages via Google SPDY proxy servers.”
Basically what this means is that Google will route its browser traffic through a proxy server before sending it on to users’ phones. The server will compress the data so it can send the same amount of information in smaller amounts to users’ devices.
The feature isn’t turned on for all users’ devices but it can be activated by running this command;
adb shell ‘echo “chrome –enable-spdy-proxy-auth” > /data/local/tmp/content-shell-command-line’
The advantage for Chrome users is that they’ll notice an increase in their download speeds while actually using less mobile or wireless data. Since this feature hasn’t been officially announced by Google just yet we don’t have details about how much users could save or what level of speed increase they’ll see.
If this sounds familiar it’s because such a data-saving feature has been available on mobile and desktop versions of Opera’s browser for a number of years. Apps like Hotspot Shield have also offered users similar methods of saving data and increasing download speeds (as well as bypassing some browsing restrictions).
What’s especially interesting about this change is that it comes a week after Opera announced that it will stop development on its own browser’s render engine and will adopt the same one used by Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari, WebKit.
So, with Chrome adopting Opera’s features and Opera adopting Chrome’s it seems we’re moving towards a more uniform browser market where the only distinguishing features between the applications will be their apps and extensions.
While this is every web developers’ dream, we have to ask what will it mean for the future of the browser?