​Google’s desktop Chrome Data Saver aims to slash data costs

26 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google embraces Internet Explorer tech to help improve Chrome’s scrolling.

Google and Microsoft aren’t exactly friends, but the two companies are working closely to add some Microsoft magic to Chrome that could improve the browser’s scrolling issues—especially on mobile. Google says it decided to support Microsoft’s tech after feedback from web developers, browser vendors, and others in the web community, as first reported by The Verge.

Google says Pointer Events should improve the initial scroll stuttering users sometime experience on mobile. “Replacing all touch event handlers with pointer event handlers will address the main longstanding source of scroll-start jank we see on Android,” Google’s Rick Byers said on a Google Groups post. Google’s decision to implement Pointer Events comes one month after the Microsoft technology was adopted as a standard by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). In case you’ve never heard of it, Google’s data compression proxy service is meant to save the user bandwidth, load pages faster, and increase security (since sites go through Google’s servers, the company checks for malicious webpages) on your phone and tablet.

After that it will slowly filter down to alpha and beta builds of Chrome before hitting the stable versions most people use on their PCs and mobile devices. At the time, the Chromium team said it wouldn’t support Pointer Events because it didn’t believe Microsoft’s tech would ever be more widely supported than Touch Events, owing to Safari’s dominance on mobile devices. It was labeled “experimental” for many months, and only officially arrived for mobile users in January 2014 with the launch of Chrome 32 for Android and iOS. Yet the feature still isn’t widely used because it is turned off by default (to turn it on, fire up Chrome for Android or iOS, go to Settings, Bandwidth management, choose “Reduce data usage,” and then turn the toggle to “On”).

Google could one day choose to flip this switch for all users, though because it routes all your traffic through the company’s servers, doing so would likely result in a backlash from security and privacy advocates. The feature is certainly much more useful on mobile: It can save you money if you’re on a tight data plan, in addition to speeding up page loads and beefing up security. Chances are that browsing on the desktop is already quite speedy for most people, and Google’s Safe Browsing feature is already built into Chrome for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Based on what we’ve seen so far, however, the savings are quite significant, though it’s hard to say if they scale as you browse for longer periods of time. Given how long it took for the mobile version to roll out, however, and the fact that this extension is clearly labeled “beta” (a term the company loves to overuse whenever possible), we’re not holding our breath.

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