Google’s 3 year-old Chrome browser just hit the 200 million user mark, CEO Larry Page announced Thursday.
The fast-growing browser had about 160 million users in May, up from 120 million in December 2010, according to eWeek, which correctly predicted Chrome would hit 200 million users in October.
Chrome’s growth had been noted elsewhere. The browser has about 15% market share and in some markets, like the UK, it has surpassed Firefox’s share to become the second most popular browser after IE. Among Mashable readers, meanwhile, Chrome is the most popular.
The huge installed base for Chrome is good news for Google, which just started rolling out its first Chromebooks in June.
The Google Chrome for Android Beta has just received experimental support for Opera Turbo-like data compression. If you’re lucky enough to own a device that’s supported by the Chrome Beta, you can install the new version from Google Play and flip the switch to see what kind of data savings you can expect.
For Google OS blogger Alex Chitu, turning on data compression in Chrome saved more than 40%. The savings is achieved in the cloud, where Google’s SPDY proxy servers handle the bulk of the content delivery process — starting with DNS lookups. Images are re-compressed using Google’s own WebP standard, HTML code is analyzed and unnecessary characters and whitespace are removed, and the whole bundle is then squashed using gzip compression. After the squeezing is complete, content is finally pushed from Google’s proxy servers to your device.
All content transmitted using Chrome data compression has to pass through Google’s Safe Browsing filter, which makes sense. Google doesn’t want its own servers handling pages that could be riddled with malware. It’s also worth noting that Chrome won’t transmit HTTPS requests to the proxy servers. On any sites where HTTPS is now the protocol of choice (like Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter), compression won’t be able to reduce your bandwidth usage.
There’s also an interesting side effect from turning on data compression in the Chrome for Android Beta. The process renders ad-blocking tools useless, and it’s hard to believe that’s completely accidental. Google makes its living by serving up ads, and that can be tricky to do when Android users have ready access to low-level ad blockers.
But hey, if your primary reason for blocking ads on your mobile device is that they suck up too much bandwidth, maybe Google’s hoping that a 40% overall savings will help bring you back into the ad-viewing fold.