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Reduce data usage with Google Chrome's Data Saver

If you’ve ever been frustrated by exceeding your data plan on a monthly basis, popular web browser Google Chrome may just have a solution for you.

Chrome’s Data Saver extension on desktop

Google recently launched (on March 23, 2015) an extension for Chrome desktop browser named Data Saver (currently in beta at the time of writing this post) that reduces your data usage significantly .1

Google’s data compression proxy service not only save the user bandwidth, but also load pages faster, and increase security (since sites go through Google’s servers, the company checks for malicious webpages) on your phone, tablet and desktop computer.

Google describes the Data Saver extension as,

Reduces data usage by using Google servers to optimize pages you visit. Browse more for less!

When this extension is enabled, Chrome will use Google servers to compress pages you visit before downloading them. SSL and incognito pages will not be included.

Thus, the extension uses Google’s data compression proxy service to optimize pages before serving them to your browser. It doesn’t work with SSL and incognito pages at present, and you’ll need Chrome 41 or newer to use it.

The extension gets to work as soon as you install it.2 You can click the extension button on your browser toolbar to see how much data it has saved you and turn it off if necessary.

If you’re eager to see what is happening behind the scenes, then check out the internal Chrome page chrome:net-internals#bandwidth. It contains Data Reduction Proxy settings such as primary and secondary URLs and recent events so that you can debug by yourself proxy issues you may have.

Google began testing its data compression service for browsers back in March 2013. The rollout of this beta extension could point to the feature being baked into future versions of Chrome on the desktop.

Chrome’s Data Saver on mobile

Chrome’s Data Saver feature is also available in the latest Chrome browser for Android and Chrome browser for iOS which has been shown to reduce the size of web pages by 50%. To enable it, hop into Settings, tap Data Saver and turn it on.

The feature is certainly much more useful on mobile: It can save you money if you’re on a tight data plan, in addition to speeding up page loads and beefing up security. Chances are that browsing on the desktop is already quite speedy for most people, and Google’s Safe Browsing feature is already built into Chrome for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

  1. For more information about Google Chrome’s Data Saver please visit the Google support page

  2. Custom downloaded images may not worked if you’ve enabled the data compression tool. Thus, turn off the Chrome’s Data Saver or simply download the images in Chrome’s incognito window.