For about a year now, Google has given users the option to reduce the amount of data Chrome uses on Android and iOS devices. Now the company is extending that ability to desktop Chrome users with a new extension called Data Saver. Available in the Chrome Web Store, Data Saver aims to provide the same results that mobile users can take advantage of, by compressing the data on Google’s servers first before sending it through to be downloaded. Judging by the screenshots listed in the Web Store, the extension will potentially even be able to reduce certain web page sizes by almost 50%. Keep in mind that this extension is still in beta, so results might not be completely accurate for the time being.
Additionally, Google employee François Beaufort points out that you can see what’s happening with the extension behind the scenes if you head to chrome:net-internals#bandwidth. This will allow you to see Data Reduction Proxy settings such as primary and secondary URLs and recent events so you can do some manual debugging if need be.
In the description on the extension page, Google notes that SSL and incognito pages are incompatible with Data Saver, so be sure to keep that in mind. Data Saver will certainly be less useful on the desktop than it is on mobile because most folks on a computer normally don’t need to worry about saving on data. But if you’re connected to a hotspot or are on a tethered connection of some sort, now you’ll be able to save on some precious bandwidth.