It’s funny how tech moves in cycles.
When data networks were slow, and our mobile smartphones were far less powerful, we usually could count on unlimited data here in the States, even through the 3G revolution. Companies like Opera would release 3rd party browsers to help reduce data use and to speed up web browsing. Especially during the Windows Mobile days, this was tremendously helpful as web browsing could be somewhat painful on smaller screens and under-powered hardware.
Now we have devices which do a remarkable job of replicating the desktop web browsing experience, on screaming fast hardware, with broadband bandwidth over the air. Unfortunately, all of these improvements came with caps and throttling for most consumers. We don’t necessarily need the speed benefits of compression anymore, but saving a few MB’s while browsing would certainly come in handy.
Rolling out today, Chrome will now offer up data compression for Android and iOS. Once you’ve received the update, go into settings, hit Bandwidth Management, and enable “Reduce Data Usage”. Easy peasy. This wont help reduce data on any of your other apps or services, but if you use the browser, it will be able to reduce your data footprint by up to 50%, while improving your “Safe Browsing” security.
Android users will also receive an update to add website shortcuts to their homescreen directly from the browser menu. Not too shabby.
Check the Google Chrome Blog for the full scoop.