Chrome for Android makes video smoother, less power-hungry

Google says a billion hours of web video a week are played on Chrome.

Google set the stage for the latest Chrome for Android update by revealing that a billion hours of video are now viewed per week on the browser, much of it on mobile. The Android team consequently focused on video for release 52, saying it's now "smoother, loads faster and consumes less battery." A video (below) shows load times that are five times faster, a trick that will save a bit of power and time. If you use the browser's Data Saver mode, you'll also get lightweight, more compressed video (much like T-Mobile's "Binge On" mode), in case your plan is close to the limit.

Google says the changes work with HTML5, so they presumably don't fix slow-loading Flash-based video. The improvements will be mainly beneficial for short clips, though the Data Saver video mode will obviously help if you're watching a half-hour tutorial. You might have to wait a bit for the new version, as it appears to be on a staged rollout and our editors in Europe or the US have received it yet. Now, if it could just do something about the resource-hungry desktop browser ...