Google SPDY is in a very good position. It's poised to become the foundation for the upcoming HTTP 2.0 standard and is already supported by Chrome and Firefox. Google is using it extensively on its servers and the Apache module which enables SPDY is now stable.
Wanting to show off SPDY's improvements, Google conducted a simple but comprehensive test on mobile performance.
Using Google Chrome for Android running on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Google clocked the loading times of several pages from different websites, 77 pages in total scattered across 31 popular domains.
"SPDY is a replacement for HTTP, designed to speed up transfers of web pages by eliminating much of the overhead associated with HTTP. SPDY supports several optimizations that give it an edge over HTTP when it comes to speed. SPDY is gaining a great deal of traction," Google explained
Google noted the time it took pages to load via regular HTTP connections and the time it took them with SPDY enabled. Across the board, load times dropped by a not insignificant number.
"The net result is that using SPDY produced a mean page load time improvement of 23% across these sites, compared to HTTP. This is equivalent to a speedup of 1.3x for SPDY over HTTP. Much more work can be done to improve SPDY performance on 3G and 4G cellular networks, but this is a promising start," Google said.
The improvements are quite impressive especially since they come at absolutely no cost to the users, servers, ISPs and so on. The technology is just better adapted to today's network conditions and not the ones from two decades ago when HTTP was conceived.
But Google had a particular reason to highlight mobile performance, Microsoft says it's one of the areas where SPDY is lacking. In its own proposal for HTTP 2.0, it supported SPDY as the base but also urged more modifications aimed specifically at the mobile web.