Google recently added another way to reduce your PC’s bandwidth demands when you’re on any connection, where every megabyte counts, such as metered satellite.
Chrome users can now add a new extension called Data Saver from the Chrome Web Store that compresses web pages on Google servers before delivering them to your PC, a feature that mobile Chrome has offered since 2013. The new extension does notwork when Chrome is in incognito mode or when you connect to a site using SSL (HTTPS) encryption.
Why this matters: Reducing bandwidth demands is a common feature on mobile devices with browsers such as Silk and Opera, as well as the app Opera Max. Data compression on PCs, however, hasn’t had nearly as much attention since PCs are typically connected to Wi-Fi or Ethernet and bandwidth constraints are less of an issue. Opera was really the only major browser to tackle data compression with its Turbo feature introduced in 2009. With laptops becoming lighter and more mobile by the month and Chrome OS growing in popularity, focusing on data compression for web-centric PCs is long overdue.
Data Saver (Beta) for Chrome on Windows or Mac
Using Data Saver is really easy. You just install it from the Chrome Web Store and the extension gets to work immediately. Data Saver places an icon in your browser to the right of the address bar. Click on it and you can see how much data you’ve saved, or turn Data Saver off.
For anyone who wants a detailed look at their data compression activity, Chrome evangelist François Beaufort provided this tip. Paste chrome:net-internals#bandwidth into your address bar and hit Enter. This will open a tab showing all your latest bandwidth activity as well as a table at the bottom with a live update of your total bandwidth usage with Data Saver enabled.