Google sees 15% speed boost with HTTP tweak

All Google SSL connections now SPDY


Velocity Google is now using its HTTP-boosting SPDY protocol to accelerate almost all SSL web traffic between Chrome browsers and its many web services, and according to Mike Belshe, an engineer on Google's Chrome team, the protocol is juicing performance by more than 15 per cent on average.

"We do not have any property that is not performing better with SPDY than without," Belshe said this afternoon at the O'Reilly Velocity conference in Santa Clara, California.

SPDY quietly made its debut with Chrome 6, and Initially, the protocol was only turned on for a limited percentage of SSL connections to Google services. But Belshe says the company is now using the protocol about 99 per cent of the time. The remaining one per cent, he says, is a necessary control group. "The only way we can measure how it works – the only way we can figure that 15 per cent [speed boost] – is to measure exactly the same usage case," Belshe told us following a conference presentation.

First unveiled as an experimental project in the fall of 2009, SPDY is an application layer protocol designed to improve the speed of the aging HTTP. The protocol has been available with Chrome since the sixth version of the browser, but at this point, it only kicks into action when the browser is used with Google services and a few other test platforms. At this point, Google services use SPDY exclusively with SSL connections.

Earlier this week, Strangeloop added SPDY to its flagship online service, which websites use to accelerate their load times, and the Israel-based Cotendo has said it will add SPDY to its content delivery network. Cotendo offers services for accelerating both desktop and mobile traffic, but SPDY is not yet available on mobile devices.

Mike Belshe

Mike Belshe

Belshe confirmed that the Google Android team is incorporating SPDY into the mobile operating system's browser, and he said that Mozilla is "interested" in using the protocol as well. Google also offers a public SPDY proxy, and there are now SPDY servers written in C++, Python, Go, Ruby, and node.js. The project is open source.

SPDY creates a session between the HTTP application layer and the TCP transport layer, using an HTTP-like request-response setup. It speeds downloads via multiplexed streams, request prioritization, and HTTP header compression. Multiplexing is the main change, Belshe says. With HTTP, you can only handle one request at a time, and though you can open multiple connection, if you open too many, you run into problems with TCP. Multiplexing is hardly a complicated change – "it's been done before, there's no new idea here," Belshe says – but it solves much of the problem.

At this point, SPDY is limited to application layer. It does not require kernel changes. You don't have to rewrite apps. You simply need new web servers and clients. But Belshe says that Google will eventually extend its work. "Because we can identify issues at the application layer, it made sense to try to address those first, develop an application protocol that works really well, that people agree works really well, and then start to dig down," he said. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021