Google's Chrome browsers for Android and iOS devices are getting some key new features, including data compression services that can help users reduce their data usage by up to about 50 percent. Also coming soon are Google Translate services for Chrome for iOS users, as well as the ability to create shortcuts to your favorite Websites right from your home screen for faster and easier access to the Web.
The new compression and shortcut capabilities were unveiled by Matt Welsh, a Google software engineer, in a Jan. 15 post on the Google Chrome Blog.
"More and more, we're using our phones and tablets to discover great web content from all over the world," wrote Welsh. "Today, a few new features in Chrome for Mobile make it easier for you to find and consume this content on the go."
Because a growing number of mobile users use their mobile devices for online browsing—including more than a fifth of adult smartphone users in the United States alone—Google has added the compression feature to help users reduce their data usage and potentially cut their the costs of their mobile device bills, wrote Welsh. "When enabled, Chrome's data compression and bandwidth management can reduce data usage by up to 50 percent while browsing the web on Chrome for Android and iOS. This feature also enables Chrome's Safe Browsing technology which helps protect you from malicious webpages."
Users can activate the new compression features by going into the settings menu of the Chrome browser on their Android and iOS devices and selecting "Settings," then "Bandwidth management" and then "Reduce data usage," wrote Welsh. "Then simply turn the toggle to 'On.' From this menu, you'll also be able to track how much bandwidth you save each month as you browse on Chrome," he wrote.
The new Translate for iOS services for Chrome for iOS will be arriving in the coming days, wrote Welsh, which will give iOS users access to the same browser language translation services that are already available to Android and Chrome desktop users, he wrote.
"With this update, you can now translate webpages in Chrome with the click of a button on your iPhone and iPad, just as you're used to on Chrome for desktop and Android," wrote Welsh. "To translate a page into your phone or tablet's native language, just look for the translation bar and select 'Translate.'"
Also new in the upcoming release of Chrome for Android is the ability for users to create shortcuts to their favorite Websites right from their device's home screen, which will make it faster and simpler for them to reach their online destinations, he wrote. "When visiting a site you'd like to save, simply select 'Add to home screen' from the toolbar menu. Then anytime you'd like to open the saved website, just tap its icon on your home screen. For certain websites, the shortcut will open in a full-screen experience and appear as a separate app in the Android app switcher."
Android and iOS users of the Chrome browser can download the latest versions of the app from the Google Play store and the Apple App Store, he wrote.
Google is always working to add new features to the mobile and desktop versions of its Chrome browser.
In November 2013, Google added improvements to its Chrome for Android and for iOS to help speed up online shopping and form-filling experiences for users, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Android users already had basic autofill capabilities, but Google wanted to make the user experience even easier.
Google's Chrome browser celebrated its fifth birthday in September 2013.