Move Over, HTTP. Say ‘Hello World’ to SPDY
Google plans to introduce a new protocol for web transactions it says is more than 50 percent faster than HTTP.
A post on Google’s Chromium blog describes the new protocol, SPDY, pronounced “Speedy”:
SPDY is at its core an application-layer protocol for transporting content over the web. It is designed specifically for minimizing latency through features such as multiplexed streams, request prioritization and HTTP header compression.
The Chromium team, which is in charge of developing the Chrome browser and its associated technologies, reports that SPDY has been able to load web pages 55 percent faster than the HTTP protocol in lab conditions using simulated home-network connections. The team says its goal is to make SPDY eventually run twice as fast as HTTP.
HTTP is the language currently used by servers and browsers for the vast majority of common tasks on the web. When you request a web page or a file from a server, chances are your browser sends that request using HTTP. The server answers using HTTP, too. This is why “http” appears at the beginning of most web addresses.
So, Google’s proposal would involve rewriting the web’s most commonly used and baked-in transaction method.
“HTTP has served the web incredibly well,” the post’s authors write. “We want to continue building on the web’s tradition of experimentation and optimization, to further support the evolution of websites and browsers.”
If such a massive shift were to ever take place (and nobody’s promising it will at this point), it would require a whole lot of buy-in from outside Google. To that end, the company is releasing its early-stage documentation and code for SPDY along with a call for feedback.
It may seem like a brash move, but the Chromium team seems to enjoy ruffling feathers. In September, the same group released the Chrome Frame plug-in for Internet Explorer which essentially embeds Google’s browser inside Microsoft’s, giving the ability to render websites that IE wouldn’t normally be able to handle.
To contribute to the SPDY discussion, visit the Chromium Google Group.
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