If you’ve been following Internet trends lately, then you should be aware of Google’s SPDY protocol. It’s a replacement for HTTP that can speed up the load times for Web pages. It’s been used extensively in browsers with Chrome first adopting it and Firefox turning it on by default with the release of Firefox 13. If you have used SPDY, you know it to be great, but can it help improve mobile browsing speeds?
Google has set out to find out the answer to this very question. Through the use of Chrome for Android, they used a Samsung Galaxy Nexus to test the speeds that the mobile Chrome browser returned with SPDY compared to traditional HTTP on the same device. The test was applied to 3G and 4G connections since Wi-Fi, depending on its origin, can return faster speeds than mobile connections.
You would expect SPDY to perform marginally better, but the results were actually pretty surprising and terrific. SPDY load times saw a mean improvement of 23 percent across the 77 Web sites they used in the test. Google did the math and found that this was a 1.3x improvement over HTTP.
For the visually minded among us, Google released a graph that charts the speed of SPDY and HTTP across the Web sites they tested on. You can see quite the improvement which Google says was sometimes 50 percent faster than HTTP.
If you want to see more details of the test Google conducted alongside the methodology they used to reach their results, check out the team’s research page. As you will see, the faster speeds applied to Web sites everywhere from BBC.co.uk to Reddit to quickmeme. Google certainly picked out some sites that would normally load slowly for any connection.