iPhone users: Chrome for iOS will save your data

How Google revamped its Chrome browser app for iOS to prevent users from exceeding their data limits and get search results faster.

How Chrome for iOS save data prevent going over data limit

In addition to paying Apple a reported $1 billion for search traffic, Google has further boosted its efforts to drive iOS users to its search engine by improving its Chrome for iOS app.

The default Safari mobile browser for iOS doesn't take into account the cost of cellular data or the frustration of slow access networks. Android users trying to stay under the limits of their data plans have had an option that iOS users will now get with the Chrome for iOS update.

According to Google's blog post, 100 million Chrome for Android users turned on Data Saver mode, saving a total of 100 terabytes per day. At $10 per gigabyte, Chrome for Android users project to save $1 million per day and $365 million per year. Data Saver mode also speeds up browsing on slower Wi-Fi networks.

How it works

Google has distributed web proxy servers throughout the internet between Chrome users and website destinations. Google's web proxy compresses data sent from websites to the mobile user. It captures the user's requested browsing destination, submits the destination URL to the website, and then captures and compresses the webpage returned before relaying it to the user. That's a mouthful, more easily explained by the diagram below.

google chart 1 Google

How to enable Data Saver mode in Chrome for iOS

Google claims a 50% reduction in the amount of data used in Chrome browsing sessions. iOS users who want faster browsing that consumes less of their limited mobile data plans should download the Chrome browser M48 from the Apple App store.

To enable Data Saver, visit Settings > Data Saver and toggle the option.

How Google did it

Web performance is part of Google's DNA. Over the years it has funded and contributed to many projects, such as mod_speedtest and pagespeed_insights, that help Google and independent developers identify bottlenecks in webpages.

Google's Chrome for iOS developers obsessed over the M48 version to make it more stable, more resilient to "ugly" or poorly designed webpages, and optimized the rendering of Javascript. For Google, rendering Javascript falls into the realm of an obsessive compulsion because it is a procedural language prone to non-fatal but performance-crippling programming errors that ruin user experience.

google chart 2 Google

The introduction of WKWebView's out-of-process rendering and other changes have improved Javascript execution by an order of magnitude and reduced crashes by 70%.

Delve into the full story on the Google Chrome Blog.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

SD-WAN buyers guide: Key questions to ask vendors (and yourself)