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Chrome Beta for Android updated with password syncing and experimental data compression

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Chrome Beta 26 for Android
Chrome Beta 26 for Android

Google launched a Chrome Beta channel for Android users earlier this year, and the latest update has some welcome usability tweaks — and an experimental data compression feature that the company says will result in "substantial" bandwidth savings. The update integrates both password and autofill syncing, so users of the mobile browser will be able to reap the same syncing benefits available on the desktop (the mobile app will only sync with the latest Chrome desktop Beta, and it may take a few days for the feature to go live).

Things get interesting with a new experimental feature, however. By typing chrome://flags users can enable a new experimental data compression proxy. It's based upon the SPDY (pronounced "speedy") protocol that has already been built into the desktop version of Chrome. Essentially, when the feature is enabled Chrome Beta connects to a Google SPDY proxy server, which sends a streamlined and optimized version of a given page to the user. Images – which Google says make up 60 percent of the bytes transferred when surfing the web — are transcoded into the WebP format. Comments, metadata, and unnecessary whitespace are all culled from pages before being sent to users as well, and all resources undergo gzip compression.

According to a test Google ran last year, SPDY could result in pages loading 23 percent faster than using conventional methods. If you're running Android 4.0 or later and would like to try the new features for yourself, the latest beta is available now from the Play Store.