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Speed Up Google Plus By Loading WebP Images on Chrome

This post is about speeding up Google Plus on Chrome. This post is also about a new Chrome API, and also about an extension that uses this API. Let us get started.

The API – chrome.declarativeWebRequest

Use the chrome.declarativeWebRequest API to intercept, block, or modify requests in-flight. It is significantly faster than thechrome.webRequest API because you can register rules that are evaluated in the browser rather than the JavaScript engine with reduces roundtrip latencies and allows higher efficiency. 

If you are a developer, official documentation is available here.

The Extension

François Beaufort from Google has created a sample Chrome extension to demonstrate this API. This Extension uses the chrome.declarativeWebRequest API to intercept, block, or modify requests in-flight.

Note: The API is not available on stable channel yet. You will need Dev, Beta or Canary channels to use this extension.

You can download the extension from here.

Speeding up Google Plus

Before we talk about how this extension will help you speed up Google Plus, a refresher on what WebP is.

WebP is a new image format that provides lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs. WebP lossy images are 25-34% smaller in size compared to JPEG images at equivalent SSIM index. WebP supports lossless transparency (also known as alpha channel) with just 22% additional bytes. Transparency is also supported with lossy compression and typically provides 3x smaller file sizes compared to PNG when lossy compression is acceptable for the red/green/blue color channels.

Google is using the WebP format on their web properties to save TBs of data (both for users and Google). When you visit the Chrome Web Store, the default image format for extension screenshots is WebP.

On Google Plus, this extension can attempt to download WebP images whenever available. This will make your Google Plus feed load faster. Google is already using WebP format to serve images on Google Plus app for Android, speeding up the app and saving bandwidth for the user at the same time.

So, get the extension and try Google Plus now. Let me know if you find it useful!

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