U.S. Markets close in 26 mins.

New Update for Google Chrome Helps You Use Less Data on Your Smartphone

Daniel Bean
Assistant Editor
Yahoo Tech

Always going over your smartphone’s monthly data allowance? Google might be able to help.

On Wednesday, Google introduced a new feature for its Chrome mobile web browsers for both iOS and Android that compresses webpages down in size - up to 50% smaller, the company claims - meaning you’ll spend less of your data when browsing the web. This could be a boon for Internet surfers who are on carriers like Verizon and AT&T that do not offer unlimited data plans, as it could (if Google’s claims are true) cut in half the amount of data you’re currently using when surfing the Internet on your phone.

Sound good? This is what you’ll have to do to enjoy this new feature.

First, make sure that you’re on the latest version of the Chrome browser on your phone (check iTunes here and the Play store here). Now, under the Settings menu of Chrome, you’ll find a Bandwidth management section. In there, you’ll want to tap the Reduce data usage label and, on the next screen, touch the OFF button to ON.

You should now see a chart which displays the amount of data Chrome is saving you. Neat, right?

Of course, this isn’t Google’s first attempt to keep you from bursting through the ceiling of your mobile data plan. Android 4.0+ actually has a built-in Data usage menu where you see how much you’ve used in a month’s time or even cap yourself if you so desire.

To check this out, simply go to your Android Settings app (find it either in your app drawer or in the notifications pulldown window) and click Data usage. There, you’ll find a chart showing your data usage, and also options to warn you or even cap you at a certain level of data (defaulted for 2.0 GB).

You can also turn mobile data completely off from this menu — which would, of course, impede your ability to read Yahoo Tech from your smartphone. Tough call. Better stick with the Chrome update for now.