Feeds

Google sees 15% speed boost with HTTP tweak

All Google SSL connections now SPDY

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Velocity Google is now using its HTTP-boosting SPDY protocol to accelerate almost all SSL web traffic between Chrome browsers and its many web services, and according to Mike Belshe, an engineer on Google's Chrome team, the protocol is juicing performance by more than 15 per cent on average.

"We do not have any property that is not performing better with SPDY than without," Belshe said this afternoon at the O'Reilly Velocity conference in Santa Clara, California.

SPDY quietly made its debut with Chrome 6, and Initially, the protocol was only turned on for a limited percentage of SSL connections to Google services. But Belshe says the company is now using the protocol about 99 per cent of the time. The remaining one per cent, he says, is a necessary control group. "The only way we can measure how it works – the only way we can figure that 15 per cent [speed boost] – is to measure exactly the same usage case," Belshe told us following a conference presentation.

First unveiled as an experimental project in the fall of 2009, SPDY is an application layer protocol designed to improve the speed of the aging HTTP. The protocol has been available with Chrome since the sixth version of the browser, but at this point, it only kicks into action when the browser is used with Google services and a few other test platforms. At this point, Google services use SPDY exclusively with SSL connections.

Earlier this week, Strangeloop added SPDY to its flagship online service, which websites use to accelerate their load times, and the Israel-based Cotendo has said it will add SPDY to its content delivery network. Cotendo offers services for accelerating both desktop and mobile traffic, but SPDY is not yet available on mobile devices.

Mike Belshe

Mike Belshe

Belshe confirmed that the Google Android team is incorporating SPDY into the mobile operating system's browser, and he said that Mozilla is "interested" in using the protocol as well. Google also offers a public SPDY proxy, and there are now SPDY servers written in C++, Python, Go, Ruby, and node.js. The project is open source.

SPDY creates a session between the HTTP application layer and the TCP transport layer, using an HTTP-like request-response setup. It speeds downloads via multiplexed streams, request prioritization, and HTTP header compression. Multiplexing is the main change, Belshe says. With HTTP, you can only handle one request at a time, and though you can open multiple connection, if you open too many, you run into problems with TCP. Multiplexing is hardly a complicated change – "it's been done before, there's no new idea here," Belshe says – but it solves much of the problem.

At this point, SPDY is limited to application layer. It does not require kernel changes. You don't have to rewrite apps. You simply need new web servers and clients. But Belshe says that Google will eventually extend its work. "Because we can identify issues at the application layer, it made sense to try to address those first, develop an application protocol that works really well, that people agree works really well, and then start to dig down," he said. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.