There was once a time when Google Chrome was the fast, fresh-faced browser on the market. Now, seven years after it was first introduced in beta, Chrome has become a lot more bloated and not as lithe as it used to be. Google hopes to change that with its new Brotli compression algorithm, which will take the place of its current Zopfli counterpart.
Brotli was first discussed back in September 2015, and uses a “new data format” to allow for 20 to 26 percent higher compression ratios than what’s possible with Zopfli. “We show that Brotli is roughly as fast as zlib’s Deflate implementation,” said Google software engineer Zoltan Szabadka in September. “At the same time, it compresses slightly more densely than LZMA and bzip2 on the Canterbury corpus. The higher data density is achieved by a 2nd order context modeling, re-use of entropy codes, larger memory window of past data and joint distribution codes.”
Brotli is now ready to make its primetime debut according to Google web performance engineer Ilya Grigorik, and will soon be shipping with next Chrome release. The vastly superior compression engine means that Chrome users should experience faster page loads across the board (and we’re hoping a reduced need for memory and processing resources as well, as Chrome is getting to be big, fat resource hog these days).
And while it’s not so much of an issue for Chrome on the desktop side of things, Brotli has some additional positive benefits on the notebooks and mobile (smartphone, tablet) markets thanks to “lower data transfer fees and reduced battery use.”