Google is set to trial a new feature to speed up mobile web page loading on slow Internet connections. The company says it has developed a way to optimize the display to be lighter and faster, while simultaneously “preserving most of the relevant content.”
Kicking off in Indonesia in two weeks’ time, the field test will be applicable to Chrome users on Android only at first. Google says during its initial tests, the new “lighter” pages loaded four times quicker and consumed 80 percent less data than previously.
Today’s news comes just a few weeks after the Internet giant revealed new “streamlined” search results pages for mobile. This basically means that it detects if you’re on a particularly slow network and optimizes the display accordingly. A natural extensions of this is to take it to the websites themselves, automatically changing the display of the content based on whether a user is on 2G, 3G, or simply a super-congested network.
It also makes commercial sense for both Google and its ad-buying customers. The faster the browsing experience is for users, the more conversions there will be and, well, everyone’s a winner. Google does state that it is paying particular attention to supporting ads and AdSense, with support for DoubleClick for publishers coming later. During its initial private tests, Google says it saw a 50 perecnt increase in traffic to the optimized pages.
“These faster optimized pages help publishers and advertisers reach new audiences,” explains Google in a blog post. For those who wish to wait for the full, original page, an option will be given for this.
It’s also worth noting that Google has made this an opt-out feature for web developers — so all websites will be optimized by default. A small piece of code can be added to the site, however, that instructs Google not to convert the site for slow connections.
Though it’s being trialled only in Indonesia at first, it’s clear that such technology could have a much broader appeal across both the developing world and the western world. With more networks becoming congested due to the surge in portable Internet devices, anything that can help alleviate this is surely a good thing.
That said, there’s already a number of options out there designed with this exact use case in mind. Opera offers a Mini version of its main mobile browser, serving up compressed versions of pages to expedite browsing and save data. And Google itself already offers a data-saver feature within its Chrome mobile app, which also compresses pages before displaying them.
However, it sounds like this latest initiative will do more than that. For one, it will automatically switch to the optimized pages based on the available connection, rather than requiring the user to activate a setting.