Many of us have gotten spoiled by our always-available internet connections, but web access isn't that dependable in every market. Google has announced a couple of improvements for Chrome on Android that could improve browsing experience for those with slow or limited data connections. These improvements build on Chrome's Data Saver mode, which removes most of the images from web pages when users are browsing with a slow connection.
First, Google has expanded the Data Saver technology to videos. The company claims that users will be able to use 67% less data when watching MP4 format videos with Data Saver enabled. Additionally, Data Saver will now optimize websites by paring them down to the bare essentials. Users can opt to load the original website through a dialogue at the bottom of their screen. This mode does not, however, appear to act as a de facto ad-blocker. Judging from Google's "Before and After" preview picture, it appears that Data Saver considers banner ads to be an essential feature.
Next, Google plans to implement a "download" feature that allows users to save web content for later offline viewing. The company claims that this feature works with web pages, music, images, and videos. Users can access their saved content through the "Downloads" option in the Chrome menu. This feature is currently only in Chrome Beta, though Google assures us it will roll out soon.
The company's Data Saver mode might be aimed at communities with limited or absent wireless internet, but could prove useful elsewhere. Despite being designed for India, Google's offline Maps mode has been useful in the United States and Europe as well. As long as there are mobile users contrained by data caps, there will be people looking for tools to limit their data usage.
One of Google's major motivators for improving web browsing on poor internet connections appears to be its interest in developing its market in India. On Tuesday, Google's CEO Sundar Pinchai published an article on India's Economic Times detailing the company's plans and aspirations for the country. Among other things, Google is working to provide Wi-Fi at 400 train stations across India, and a program for training Indians to build Android apps.