Google is working on a new way of speeding up the web on its mobile Chrome browser, the Android flavor, by using an "SPDY proxy," something similar to Opera Mini/Turbo or Amazon's Silk Browser.With the proxy enabled, all traffic is routed via Google's servers and all pages are optimized before they're sent to the phone or tablet.
There aren't any details on what optimizations are used, Google hasn't said anything about the feature but François Beaufort spotted it in a Chromium git update.
"Reduce data consumption by loading optimized web pages via Google proxy servers," Google describes the feature.
The feature is still in early testing, users can enable it in Chrome for Android via a command line flag, which means they'll need to be able to run a command like shell on their phones, either remotely via adb or via a terminal emulator on the device.
It's unclear whether the technology actually works at this point or whether it's just a placeholder.
There are several ways in which Google could lighten the load on the connection and speed up website loading. For one, as the name suggests, Chrome will connect to the Google cloud via SPDY, reducing some of the overhead.
What's more, using the proxy means that Chrome will connect to the closest Google data center rather than to a server which may be halfway around the world. Popular websites would also be cached by Google ensuring faster load times.
Google could also use compression to drive down the size of the pages and the resources. Opera, for example, re-encodes images with WebP, Google could definitely do the same.
All in all, it could prove a useful feature in some situations, perhaps even most of the time, though the same privacy issues arise as with all the other services of this sort.
One of the things Opera brought to the table with its new WebKit-based browser for Android was better performance with poor network conditions. The feature is dubbed Off Road and it's based on Opera Mini technology.
With Google working on the same thing, this before Opera's WebKit browser is even made available, doesn't bode well for the Norwegian company.