Feb 26, 2014

Opera 21 features Off-Road mode version 2 with video compression

Opera 21.0.1419.0 web browser for Mac and Windows, based on Chromium 34.0.1825.4, has just been released. This Developer release provides many new features: Aura, a hardware-accelerated window manager, an option to show full URL in address bar, full keyboard support for web apps, and so on.

But the most exciting experimental features are hidden under opera://flags page, namely:
  • Off-Road mode, version 2 - a.k.a. Opera Turbo 2, which uses next-generation servers and protocols such as WebP and SPDY for faster web browsing.
  • Video compression in Off-Road mode - which optimizes video in version 2 of Off-Road mode, using Skyfire Rocket Optimizer aquired by Opera.
  • Speed Dial extensions compositing - which enables hardware accelerated compositing for Speed Dial extensions.
  • Enable lazy session loading - which loads only the active tab when restoring browser session. Remaining tabs will be loaded when activated.
  • Extended lazy session loading - which changes mode of operation of lazy session loading so that all tabs are gradually loaded in the background.
  • Synchronization - a.k.a. Opera Link.
  • Tab hibernation - which tells idle background tabs to hibernate.
  • DirectWrite - which enables smooth font rendering (finally!).
  • Experimental QUIC protocol - which speeds up web browsing on supported servers.
  • HTTPS over experimental QUIC protocol - which enables QUIC for HTTPS.
  • SPDY/4 alpha 2 - which is more up-to-date than SPDY/3.
  • HTTP/2 draft 04 - which is a next-generation protocol based on SPDY.
  • Built-in Asynchronous DNS - which is an internal non-blocking DNS client.
  • Enable Experimental JavaScript - a.k.a. ECMAScript Harmony features, such as proxies, weak maps, sets, maps, typeof semantics and block scoping.
  • Enable experimental Web Platform features - such as CSS Shapes, Canvas Blend modes, Canvas Paths and CSS Clip Paths.
As to performance, Off-Road mode version 2 is faster than version 1. The average measured speed in Numion YourSpeed was 375 kbps vs 301 kbps on a slow network. The video compression works by serving files with content type video/skyfire or video/mp4 from Opera Mini servers.

Download Opera Developer

Feb 18, 2014

Speed up your Google Chrome for desktop by using Data Compression Proxy

Google has added a Chrome Data Compression Proxy to its mobile Google Chrome browser for iOS and Android. Like Opera Turbo, it speeds up web browsing by greatly reducing size of transferred HTTP packets, by using a SPDY protocol, compressing resources, optimizing images to WEBP format and tunneling all traffic via secure HTTPS connection. Unfortunately, it has been available only to mobile users. Until now.

Browsing the net, I have just found an experimental Google Chrome extension, which brings Data Compression Proxy to desktop. This is an unofficial add-on, so it could potentially break some web pages or stop working some day, but for now it works great and accelerates web browsing significantly. What is more, it is open source, so anybody can check its source and contribute to it.

UPDATE: Google has released the official Data Saver extension for Chrome.

Download Data Saver from Chrome Web Store