Adam Gowland Written by

The latest Chrome mobile update

Posted on 27th January, 2014 in Development

The news last week that Google was issuing an update to the mobile version of Chrome has passed with little comment.

The update, which ironically consists of a 25MB dowload (the exact size of entire Firfefox mobile app) includes an option, which you currently have to manually activate, to compress webpages on Google’s own servers before sending them to the users mobile device. It claims to reduce the size of webpages and images by up to 50%. Resulting in a faster web for mobile users and lower data bills.

We’ve done some early testing in the studio and we have already noticed a knock on effect for websites.

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On the surface it appears that Google are essentially creating one huge proxy server, with all mobile none https traffic being served up from Googles server as apposed to websites own server.

We’ve done some early testing in the studio and we have already noticed a knock on effect for websites.

For example you can no longer view the UK version of the BBC website. They serve a different version of the site outside of UK due to licensing laws, the version of the BBC site on the proxy is the international site.

We also wonder how often does the proxy update? We uploaded some images saved on the proxy server which continued to be served up for over 12 hours before it recognised they had been changed.

At Cargo, GeoLocating is used on a website we built last year. Any mobile users who have opted to use data compression won’t see the effect GeoLocating provides.

The bad news is that it is another thing on the list for web developers to “keep an eye on” and consider when building websites.

The good news is you can opt out by following instructions on fairly well hidden Google Developers post https://developers.google.com/chrome/mobile/docs/data-compression. Certain tags in the header instruct google to never serve the “google optimised” mobile version.

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