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While Google originally built its reputation on a product that had a nearly psychic ability to deliver the exact search engine results that you were looking for, it also sported an equally important but less obvious advantage: consistently lightning-fast speed.

The difference wasn't obvious if you did one search and only navigated the first page of results, but if you went digging, the cumulative effect reduced potential frustration that may have led you to try a competitor. Google has never forgotten the success that they achieved through page load optimization, and now its Chrome browser development team appears to be pushing the envelope further.

SEE: Google Chrome Review: How's the dominant king of web browsers holding up?

ZDNet reported recently on a discovery by a blog named Chrome Story, the latter of whom dug up some interesting new info on a "Never Slow" mode that Chrome's developers have been experimenting with lately. The details get technical, but the upshot is that the mode cuts down massively on what a web page is allowed to load, thereby reducing the time it takes to load.

Each image on a page can be no more than 1 megabyte in size, which is not extreme. However, the total "image budget" for that page can also be no more than 2MB, when Never Slow is enabled. If any loading task takes more than 200 milliseconds to complete, it's also canceled completely. Even fonts can use up no more than 100 kilobytes, which is just one tenth of a megabyte.

As you might expect, Never Slow's limitations can and will break web pages that use a lot of images and scripts, possibly making them impossible to navigate. But especially on mobile devices that frequently deal with data caps and shaky internet connections, cutting down on non-essential page contents can increase quality of life if implemented correctly.

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Chrome on Android already has a Data Saver mode which was probably a source of inspiration. With Data Saver enabled, your connection to a web page gets routed through Google's servers, where a page's images may be re-compressed to load faster. And the page as whole may actually be re-written on-the-fly by Google "to load only the essential content," according to the description in the app.

There's also Google's free Datally app for Android, whose Data Saver mode can be applied to almost any app on your phone or tablet. With this, you manage how much data an app can use in a given time frame, rather than modifying how efficiently that app behaves, but the principle is there, and Google appears to be building on it with this latest Chrome experiment.

Data Saver is also available for the desktop version of Chrome via the official browser add-on.


  • The Google Chrome web browser development team is experimenting with a "Never Slow" mode that can strip a web page down to its bare essentials to speed up load time.
  • However, the mode limits data so much that it could "break" a web page, making it impossible to navigate.
  • If you want to reduce how much data you use, the Android version of Chrome has a Data Saver mode, and the desktop version of Chrome can add this feature via an official add-on.

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Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.