Chrome Bandwidth FeatureThe latest stable release of Google Chrome on Android and iOS features a new feature to ‘reduce data usage’ – but how good can it really be?

Google claim that, when enabled, the ‘data compression and bandwidth management’ feature can result in data savings of as much as 50% on normal use.

Having had the feature enabled on my Android smartphone for a month or so this seems to hold up. Chrome tells me it’s made data savings of 40% – which is fantastic news as I browse in perpetual fear of my going over my paltry 250MB data cap!

But Google’s word and my experiences only tell part of the story. To help determine just how good Chrome’s bandwidth compression feature is I’m presenting a challenge – one that you can help with.

OMG! Chrome! Bandwidth Challenge

For the next week I want as many of you as possible to switch to Chrome on Android or iOS, enable the data saving feature, and continue to use the web as you normally would.

After 7 days have passed take a screenshot of your results (visible in Settings > Bandwidth Management) and share them with us here in the comments, on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or through our contact form.

We’ll collate all your results and present our findings, including the best, worst and overall average scores, in early February.

If you already have the feature enabled and want to take part you’ll need to reset your usage stats as we’ll only be including data that starts tracking after the date at the top of this article.

The challenge isn’t limited to mobiles either. Chrome’s new data usage feature works on WiFi-only devices like tablets – so you’ve no excuse not to take part!

How to Enable Data Usage Savings in Chrome

Google don’t enable their data compression technology by default, so you’ll need to turn it on manually.

To do this, assuming you already have Chrome installed, launch it from your app tray or dock then:

  • Tap on the three vertically stacked dots to open the main Chrome menu
  • Select ‘Settings’ followed by ‘Bandwidth management’
  • Pull the slider next to ‘Reduce Data Usage’ to “On”

That’s it – you’re all set.

How Does It Work?

How can Google reduce the amount of data you use?

When the feature is enabled Chrome creates a connection between your mobile and one of their secure optimisation servers.

“The proxy…performs intelligent compression and magnification of HTML, JavaScript and CSS resources, which removes unnecessary whitespace, comments, and other metadata which are not essential to render the page. These optimisations, combined with mandatory gzip compression for all resources, can result in substantial bandwidth savings,” explains Google.

Images are converted to the nimble WebP format to make them up to 80% smaller.

How to Take a Screenshot in Android and iOS

To take a screenshot:

  • Android: Power + Volume Down
  • iOS: Power + Home button

Are you in? Help us get a more accurate result by sharing this post on your favourite social networks. 

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