Google has a new feature in its Chrome browser for mobile that it thinks could save mobile data use by up to 70 percent.
How? By automatically stripping out images from Web pages.
The search and mobile giant is expanding the Data Saver mode included in Chrome for Android devices. If you’re on a slow connection and the feature is enabled, it won’t enable most of the images on a page unless you ask it to—saving significant amounts of data.
Here’s how it looks in action:
Google didn’t invent this idea, of course. There was a similar feature on my Nokia E63, which came out way back in 2008.
But it shows the company is grappling with the issue of connectivity. While this kind of feature isn’t really necessary in countries like the U.S. and the U.K. (unless you’ve got a particularly tight data plan), it could be invaluable in emerging markets, where connections are far slower and data costs are a lot higher (and users have, on average, lower incomes).
It shouldn’t be a surprise then that Google is initially launching the feature in India and Indonesia—two emerging markets that have huge potential for the company.
Google isn’t the only tech company trying to solve issues around low connectivity. Facebook offers its employees super-slow internet connections every Tuesday, to help them understand what it’s like for many users in emerging markets.