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Google’s Brotli Compression Algorithm Lands to Windows Edge

by Sergio De Simone on Dec 25, 2016 |

Microsoft has announced that its Edge browser has started using Brotli, the compression algorithm that Google open-sourced last year.

Brotli is on by default in the latest Edge build and can be previewed via the Windows Insider Program. It will reach stable status early next year, says Microsoft. Microsoft touts a 20% higher compression ratios over comparable compression algorithms, which would benefit page load times without impacting client-side CPU costs.

According to Google, Brotli uses a whole new data format, which makes it incompatible with Deflate but ensures higher compression ratios. In particular, Google says, Brotli is roughly as fast as zlib when decompressing and provides a better compression ratio than LZMA and bzip2 on the Canterbury Corpus. Brotli appears to be especially tuned for the web, that is for offline encoding and online decoding of Web assets, or Android APKs. Google claims a compression ratio improvement of 20–26% over its own Zopfli algorithm, which still provides the best compression ratio of any deflate algorithm.

Last year, Apple and Facebook both open-sourced their new compression algorithms, Apple’s LZFSE and Facebooks’s ZStandard.

By being included in the Edge browser, Brotli is now supported by all the major browsers, including Chrome and Firefox, while it is still unsupported in Safari and Internet Explorer 11.

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