Following the release of Chrome 52 for desktop two weeks ago, Google last week also launched Chrome 52 for Android. For whatever reason, the company didn’t share what’s new until today. You can download the new version from Google Play.
Chrome 52 for Android makes video playback feel smoother, load faster, and consume less battery. More specifically, video playback has been improved for speed and power efficiency, meaning you should expect smoother playback and faster load times (so videos will start playing sooner, instead of pausing briefly before starting). Your Android device’s battery should also last longer if you consume a lot of video online.
Google didn’t share any hard data to back up these claims, but this video does a good job of summing up the potential faster load times:
Last but not least, video in Chrome for Android also now works with Data Saver Mode. This means a lightweight version of the video will be downloaded and played if you have Data Saver Mode on, saving you as much as 50 percent in data downloads, by Google’s estimation.
Google today also shared that over a billion hours of web video is played in Chrome every week. The company merely said that “much of that is on mobile devices,” without specifying anything concrete.
It’s important to note that these improvements are all centered around HTML5 content. Videos that use plugins or other technologies to play won’t see any gains. Google also points out that the improvements will be most noticeable on short videos, which is fine given that the majority of videos on the web are short clips.
This isn’t a major Chrome for Android update, but given how popular video playback is on mobile, and coupled with Chrome 51’s improvements, this is great progress. You can expect Chrome 53 for Android will be here by September.