Google proxy used for Chrome's mobile data compression

Google proxy used for Chrome's mobile data compression

Summary: A new data compression feature for Chrome on Android and iOS sends all HTTP data through a Google-run proxy

TOPICS: Mobility, Browser, Google

Claiming a saving on data usage of 50 percent, Google has rolled out a new data compression feature in its Chrome for Mobile app that is available for Android and iOS. To enable the new feature, all the user needs to do is head over to the Settings menu, go into the Bandwidth Management section, and select "Reduce data usage".

In order to compress the data send to the mobile device, Google is forwarding all HTTP traffic and DNS lookups to a SPDY proxy run by the company, which sends its data back to the device over an SSL connection.

"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," Google engineer Matt Welsh wrote in a blog post introducing the beta release of the data compression feature in March 2013.

"Only HTTP traffic is routed through and optimised by the proxy, so secure (HTTPS) requests will bypass the proxy and continue to connect directly to the destination."

As part of the bandwidth saving, Google's proxy will return pages with gzip compression and convert all images to WebP, which the company says requires fewer bytes than JPEG or PNG.

"The proxy also performs intelligent compression and minification of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS resources, which removes unnecessary white space, comments, and other metadata which are not essential to render the page," Welsh said.

Pages requested in Chrome's Incognito mode are not sent via the proxy.

Google is far from being the first company to use proxies to reduce bandwidth usage. Opera, for many years, has made use of a proxy for traffic reduction in its Opera Mini browser, a feature that is now found under the "Off-Road mode" moniker in its new Blink-based browser for Android.

LinkedIn found itself in hot water in October last year, when the company introduced its Intro service for iPhone users, which routed a user's email through a LinkedIn proxy in order to inject LinkedIn information for them.

As well as updating the mobile version of its Chrome application, Google also released a new desktop version of its browser, featuring a new mode for Windows 8, which mimics the behaviour of Chrome OS.

Topics: Mobility, Browser, Google


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • yes its not enough for Google to spy on you as is

    They want all your traffic to go through their servers, you'd think they were fronting for the NSA or something.
    • Yeah

      I'm with grey wolf on this, I was okay when they had some but, some of my data isn't good enough for Google so, I would rather they got none!
    • What better way to steal bank data ...

      ... than "cashing" everything you do in their servers.
      • If...

        If your bank isn't leveraging https on their website, then you'd be foolish to do online banking in any case.
    • Its just a proxy server..

      No different than the one your telco has setup for your phone anyway.
      • and the Greeks just presented Troy with a horse.

  • Google is welcome to my data

    when it makes the best product. You can continue to give all your data to the unknown spies on the internet.
  • Crashes Chrome on my GT-P6800

    Sounds like a good idea, but it crashes my GT-P6800 every time I try to activate it.

    As for the "data security" worry, it seems clear the the US Government currently believes that the 4th Amendment has no real meaning and so far the NSA and their lap dog the FISA court are simply unstoppable in their willingness and ability to collect anything they want anywhere in the world.

    The ONLY real solution is a new political party that is dedicated to the original intent of the Framers of the Constitution running on a platform of dismantling ALL capability to spy on US Citizens without all the protections of the 4th Amendment..
  • As an opera user

    This is old news.
    For mobile it makes a lot of sense as slow connections and limited data plans are common. Opera allows to decrease the quality of images or to just don't download images at all to save even more data - accordingly to opera browser report, data savings can be way better than 50%.
  • Google proxy extraordinary idea

    I think this is an extraordinary idea, notwithstanding it makes numerous individuals feel risky when they're tracking all their web movement through Google. Assuming that you made it track through a more trusted substitute supplier, then numerous individuals might feel more sheltered. Yet then, the roxy might need to backing the convention keeping in mind the end goal to utilize it.
  • Data Compression Proxy comes to desktop

    If you want to try it in Google Chrome for desktop, have a look at this extension: