Managing Your Data: Google Chrome

Back in June 2014, I penned an article about managing mobile data on your device, where I demonstrated how to prevent individual applications from using background mobile data and instead restricting them to WiFi. Today, I’m going to show you a trick that can save data when using the Google Chrome browser on the Android platform.

I saved 150 MB over a month.

I saved 150 MB over a month.

Back in March 2013, Google released a beta version of the Chrome browser for Android that incorporated a data compression algorithm, which is integrated with Google’s Safe Browsing technology. It was finally made available in the release version of Chrome in middle-January 2014 and uses a Google proxy server that benefits from some of Google’s website optimization tricks. In other words, your Android device is viewing a web page that’s been streamlined by Google’s servers.

Google have said that whilst the data is sent via their servers, webpage content, headers and cookies are cached but not logged, nor is the information associated with your Google account.

There are a couple of benefits to using data compression. The first is that it reduces the amount of data your device uses when browsing the Internet using Chrome. The results vary depending on the websites you view; some sites are already well optimized by the developer and so do not compress much. But as you can see from my Nexus 7, I’ve saved around a third of my data allowance. In other words, approximately 500 MB of data was compressed down to around 350 MB.

The second benefit is that on paper it improves Chrome performance and reduces battery usage, because the processor is quicker than the data connection speed and the device spends more time at idle. It is difficult to quantify these improvements and I have not noticed a significant difference between compressing and not compressing the data.

If you want to compress your data and save your allowance, launch Chrome, tap into Settings, then Bandwidth Management and from here, you can enter Reduce data usage. Use the toggle to change the status.

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