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Google is solving one of the biggest problems with watching videos in Chrome

Google Chrome
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google is working on a new option for Chrome users that will reduce data usage when streaming video.

As TechDows reports, the new feature is called LiteVideos, and it will not only help to not only reduce data usage when watching videos online, but also improve performance. Currently available in the Canary builds of Chrome, the feature is due to hit the stable release of the browser later in the year.

Entries on the Chromium bug tracker reveal details of the feature and how it works. Here, software developers explain that "LiteVideo is a data-savings optimization that simulates low bandwidth conditions by throttling media responses, to allow adaptive MSE video players to lower the resolution, and consume less data." In short, Chrome will force videos to play at a lower quality.

Although data-saving is something that tends to be most useful to mobile users, this particular feature will be making its way to all versions of Chrome. This means that Windows, macOS, Linux and Chromebook users will all be able to benefit from the boost in performance – something that will please anyone who has ever used their laptop on a metered connection. Strangely, however, there is no mention of iOS users getting the feature.

Video without the baggage

Although LiteVideo is still undergoing testing, you can already try it out if you are happy to use and unstable version of Chrome. The feature can be found in the Canary build of Chrome 86 – the desktop versions can be downloaded here and the Android version is available in Google Play.

But just have the Canary build installed is not enough, you also need to enable an optional flag to activate LiteVideo. Pay a visit to chrome://flags, search for LiteVideos, and then enable the options labelled 'Enable LiteVideos' and 'Force LiteVideos decision'.

Via TechDows and AndroidPolice