Google Data Saver improves mobile browsing on narrow pipes

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.

 

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Chrome is no longer a good option for mobile. It doesn’t support Adblock and it doesn’t have a built-in script or popup-blocker. Too many sites are becoming unusable on mobile without one or both of those features.

    If it is possible to force this data saving feature to be the default, operating 100% of the time, I’m still interested, but otherwise it’ll fail to do the one thing I want it to do, which is prevent background downloads of junk, ads, and tentative webpage preloads over WiFi.

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      So what browser do you recommend then?

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        I’ll let you know when I find one; I’m not keen on Opera for mobile, and the Adblock browser was a big no.

        TBH, I’m just learning to stop using the websites that are ad-infested, even if it means I’m missing something interesting, it’s not worth the effort of trying to deal with on mobile.

          • Alistair
          • 3 years ago

          Firefox will block ads on Android.

        • crystall
        • 3 years ago

        Install Firefox for Android, then you can install the ad blocker you prefer or use tracking protection directly.

        Compared to ad blocking it has the advantage that it prevents tracking JS code from being loaded (e.g. loaded with social networks sharing buttons, etc…) which both cuts down on the network traffic and speeds up loading the page since the browser doesn’t have to execute it. It won’t block non-tracking ads though.

        Full disclaimer: I work for Mozilla though not on Firefox for Android specifically

        • mikebliv
        • 3 years ago

        Netguard is a local VPN for Android and has adblocking capabilities (Github version) using a hosts list.

        • moog
        • 3 years ago

        Safari + Adblock

    • ludi
    • 3 years ago

    This is just what I need to resume normal browsing speeds on Century Link’s awesome “1.5/768/no-we-don’t-have-upgrades-planned-in-your-area-even-though-7-and-25-tiers-are-available-within-one-mile” service plan!

    • Kretschmer
    • 3 years ago

    As a subway rider, this would be insanely awesome for me. Bonus points if you can schedule batch downloads of your favorite URLs when wifi access is present. Bonus bonus points if there is an intelligent way to download all pages linked from a particular page (e.g. forum threads from the index page).

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      Download the internet!!!

      • Antimatter
      • 3 years ago

      Why not use an app like Pocket or Instapaper?

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