back to article Let Google's tentacles fondle your mobile's web downloads and Chrome will put the data on a diet

The latest version of Google's Chrome browser for handheld devices includes a data-compression feature that's designed to save customers money on their mobile bills, among other new bells and whistles. The compression comes disabled by default on Android and iOS, but can be activated by flipping a single switch in the browser's …

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Big Brother

It's a nice idea, but...

it means Google can track even more of your web browsing habits.

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Re: It's a nice idea, but...

Hardly more than if you were already using Chrome, I would guess...

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Re: It's a nice idea, but...

Well considering they control the platform, browser, often the DNS, gmail, maps, search, etc anyway, it's not a huge step.

Safer to assume they already know more about you than your Mrs ever will...

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Angel

Re: It's a nice idea, but...

Who cares for almost everyone......

I don't do anything that I am worried anyone else would know about. Nor do the vast majority with the possible exception of porn and then only want that hidden from friends/family.

So I get adverts related to my browing ? Adblock takes care of that. What else do I need to worry about? Theres hardly someone sat looking at a clone of my screen checking up on me.

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Re: It's a nice idea, but...

Sounds like a new twist on "If you have nothing to hide..."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a nice idea, but...

I don't do anything that I am worried anyone else would know about

How boring

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Re: It's a nice idea, but...

Quote: "Who cares for almost everyone..."

Quite clearly you have yet to be hit by someone stealing your identity or spear-fish you.

Are you confident in Google's controls on the data it collects from you?

Are you confident in whom it will be sold to?

Are you confident that Google will not be hacked and the data will not be lifted out of it along with those credit card details and personal data (sufficient for a credit application) you have registred on Google play?

Are you confident that you can distinguish between a genuine offer and a perfectly designed scam that has been fully personalized to you based on an analysis of your lifestyle, habits and your personal date?

Dunno about you, I am not...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's a nice idea, but...

> Are you confident in Google's controls on the data it collects from you?

Pretty much. I also control the data I give to it.

> Are you confident in whom it will be sold to?

Completely, considering Google keeps all the data to itself, as it is more valuable that way. I don't think there is anybody who ever claimed having been able to buy data from Google. I'm much less certain about Visa than about Google, for instance.

> Are you confident that Google will not be hacked and the data will not be lifted out of it along with those credit card details and personal data (sufficient for a credit application) you have registred on Google play?

Compared to all the other ways my credit card can be compromised: Good enough. I'd add that credit application scams are by far not as big a problem in Europe as in US, so I also feel safer because of that.

> Are you confident that you can distinguish between a genuine offer and a perfectly designed scam that has been fully personalized to you based on an analysis of your lifestyle, habits and your personal date?

I am fairly confident, but mostly, I feel safe because nobody does that. It's way more efficient to shoot wide and grab morons than to target individuals with a specialized and expensive attack which may still fail.

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Re: It's a nice idea, but...

And that's why they didn't enable it by default.

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Re: It's a nice idea, but...

When as we all know it should be;

"If your government and other governments have nothing to hide"

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<cough>Copycats</cough>

Opera Mini has been providing data-compressed web browsing since 2006.

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Re: <cough>Copycats</cough>

Opera Mini has been providing data-compressed web browsing since 2006.

Seem to recall there were services that provided compression (or at least claimed to) on internet connections way back in the modem days of the 90s

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Re: <cough>Copycats</cough>

Yes, and it made the Opera Turbo service available in Opera Mobile as the default.

However, this isn't quite the same. Google is effectively running mod_pagespeed on the proxy so compression is not quite as high as with Opera Turbo. It's a nice ad for both mod_pagespeed (make pages and media smaller) and SPDY (allow persistent, bundled HTTP-requests to stop the number of requests being the bottleneck).

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Thumb Down

Re: <cough>Copycats</cough>

Nokia has a browser as part of WP8 that does the same too.

I believe the browser on the Kindle HD does too.

About time Chrome caught up ;)

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Re: <cough>Copycats</cough>

It acutally is exactly what Opera Turbo has done since it added WebP in 2011.

http://my.opera.com/chooseopera/blog/on-a-horse-opera-turbo-to-the-rescue

Before that it just downsampled JPEGs and PNGS.

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Re: <cough>Copycats</cough>

Opera has had all of this since at least 2004, though not necessarily under the same label as today. Opera browsers would send a custom capabilities string that would determine the level of downsampling for visual elements like images, including not just resizing but even conversion to greyscale for monochrome devices. It would also "optimise" and compress HTML, and pipeline connections.

On the proxy it involved some sophisticated content filtering. Apache's mod_filter evolved out of that work: a module to configure the exact sequence of filters required by a particular client for particular contents.

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handy

for all those sites your friendly neighbourhood government deems unfit for your consumption.

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Pint

Latency

2 things:

Firstly this should greatly reduce latency since fewer TCP handshakes are needed. In fact, the DNS requests should end up happening from Google's servers, not from the phone. Latency is a big deal on mobile networks.

Secondly, SPDY always uses TLS. So while all your data is accessible to Google, it's inaccessible to everyone else in the cafe with unencrypted WiFi that you're sitting in (and the cafe owners, even if the WiFi has encryption). Whether that makes things better or worse depends on the cafes you frequent.

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Bronze badge

Already Got it

"Just when we will be able to get our hands on the new goodies, however, isn't quite clear"

Just checked my Chrome settings and this option was already there, no update required.

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Not just Opera Mini...

... regular Opera has had Opera Turbo for years. It's a very useful facility. It can give you an insight into all kinds of things.

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Re: Not just Opera Mini...

indeed. Very handy!

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Is this a privacy option?

I realise that google will be able to see everything you are doing, but what about the destination web sites. Will they only see google IP addresses?

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Re: Is this a privacy option?

Not if the website uses any Google tracking methinks... and if they are not using it, then they should ;)

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Childcatcher

Cameron filters

But the internet filters will be bypassed. Won't somebody think of the children.

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Bronze badge

Automatic Pagespeed optimisations? Fair enough, but

Maybe if Google just sorted out Google Maps and Fonts so they didn't stick out like sore thumbs in everyone's otherwise perfect Pagespeed scores we'd get more benefit. Reason is, web developers do all these optimisations ourselves, for every browser, already, other than SPDY, which I guess will come automatically once servers and browsers all support it.

In fact we can optimise some stuff more, because we know when we can do high compression with Closure Compiler, rather than normal compression, and also when it's better not to compile all the Javascript and the CSS together, e.g. if it's a CDN-based library that's likely to already be in the browser cache.

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Worrying development

I don't like this. Do any of you here use Google analytics or other web site reporting solutions? When Google switched to allowing https for web searches the keywords were stripped from the visitor referrals making it hard to understand why people are coming to my web site. From an end user privacy standpoint, great. From Google's standpoint, even better; now they get to see the keywords and search patterns but no one else does, and furthermore they can sell that data which they do via adwords; you can still get access to the keywords as long as you stump up for adwords (and someone clicks your ad).

Now we have Google being not only the search gateway to your web site (and controlling the information you get as a web site hoster), but the actual visitor to your website too via their proxy. So information such as visitor location will be dropped from my web site traffic. That's how I understand this would work.

No doubt if you use Google's analytics you could get that information back, or perhaps going on their past practices, you will need to pay a fee for it. But either way, this gives more control to Google when you consider the market share Google now has on desktop Chrome and mobile browsers.

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Flame

So, goodbye Opera!

Since they've dropped Presto, all they have left is a Chrome-clone with half the features (and 1/10th of classic Opera's features at that), their embedded sales (for Nintendo consoles, Smart TVs, etc) have all but dried up because they also depended on Presto, and now Google is about to kill Opera Mini.

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