​Chrome on Android: Now Google is touting 70 percent data savings

Google says the data-savings feature for Chrome on Android will now block all images from loading, unless the user opts to load them.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Google says its data-compression feature now achieves extra data savings by removing most images when loading a page on a slow connection.
Image: Google

Google is rolling out an update to its data-compression feature in Chrome on Android that it says will save users up to 70 percent of data, chiefly by stopping images from loading.

It's been over a year since Google launched data savings for Chrome on mobile, a feature that can be switched on by users if they're on a slow connection.

At the time, Google said the feature could offer users 50 percent savings by routing HTTP traffic on mobile devices through a Google proxy server, which could result in fuzzy images.

Now Google's latest update to data savings in Chrome on Android achieves additional savings "by removing most images when loading a page on a slow connection", wrote Tal Oppenheimer, a product manager at Google.

Norwegian browser maker Opera paved the way on data compression with its mobile browsers, and recently rolled out video data compression for its Android browser while pushing Opera Max to save data usage within mobile apps, such as Netflix.

However, what Opera doesn't have is Chrome's reach on mobile, where, thanks largely to Android, it is the most widely used browser in the world, according to Net Marketshare figures.

A GIF detailing the Chrome feature demonstrates that once the data savings feature is enabled, the browser will detect when a device is on a slow connection and will prevent images loading unless the user hits "load images".

The feature allows users to view all images or just select images after the page has loaded, which Oppenheimer notes should make the web faster and cheaper to access on slow connections.

The new feature is being rolled out to Google's Chrome on Android users in India and Indonesia first, two emerging markets where Google is working hard to improve mobile adoption through Android One, free Wi-Fi in some Indian railway stations and, beginning in Indonesia next year, a potentially massive deployment of its Project Loon technology to boost the number of connections to the web.

Oppenheimer said the feature will be expanded to other countries in coming months but there's no mention of whether it will come to Chrome on iOS.

Read more about Google Chrome on Android

Editorial standards