Talking tech since 2003

In its continuing effort to be the best option for web browsing on any device, Google’s Chrome browser has a new feature for the mobile app to help users keep from eating up too much bandwidth. New versions of Chrome for Android and iOS will offer up a “data compression” feature that, according to Google, can “reduce data usage by up to 50% while browing on the web.”

The new feature is being rolled out in an effort to help users keep from hitting data caps. While some smartphone owners pay a premium for unlimited data, many cell phone carriers cap users’ bandwidth, charging more for any overages of that cap. Other carriers will simply throttle a user’s bandwidth once they reach a certain threshold, and either way, it’s a pain. Switching on Chrome’s data compression mode should hopefully keep users from hitting those caps each month.

Switching on data compression mode is really easy, too: in the app’s options menu, select “Settings,” then hit “Bandwidth management.” From there, a user simply needs to switch the option to on, and boom—you’re saving data. Sadly, while my version of Chrome appears to be up to date, I don’t have that option just yet…my only option for bandwidth management seems to be limited to pre-loading websites on Wi-Fi only. I’m hoping that my phone gets the update sooner rather than later.

The new updates for the Chrome App have a couple other interesting features for iOS and Android to boot. iPhone users will soon have access to Google Translate through Chrome, while Android users will be able to create home screen shortcuts to favorite websites. Hopefully that’ll be a bit slicker than the bookmarks widget, which is less than ideal for browsing, I’ve found.

All in all, I’ve also noticed that Chrome has gotten a lot better lately in terms of allowing me to browse pages across multiple devices, with faster syncing overall. Maybe those improvements are in my head and it’s always been good at that, but it’s rare that I’d enjoy using a web browser as much as I do this one.

Now, if only Chrome can offer up some touch optimized zoom-in functionality for my Windows 8 tablet—then I’ll be a really happy camper.

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