Google is solving one of the biggest problems with watching videos in Chrome

Google Chrome
(Image credit: Shutterstock)
Audio player loading…

Google is working on a new option for Chrome users that will reduce data usage when streaming video.

As TechDows (opens in new tab) reports, the new feature is called LiteVideos, and it will not only help to not only reduce data usage when watching videos online, but also improve performance. Currently available in the Canary builds of Chrome, the feature is due to hit the stable release of the browser later in the year.

Entries on the Chromium bug tracker (opens in new tab) reveal details of the feature and how it works. Here, software developers explain that "LiteVideo is a data-savings optimization that simulates low bandwidth conditions by throttling media responses, to allow adaptive MSE video players to lower the resolution, and consume less data." In short, Chrome will force videos to play at a lower quality.

Although data-saving is something that tends to be most useful to mobile users, this particular feature will be making its way to all versions of Chrome. This means that Windows, macOS, Linux and Chromebook users will all be able to benefit from the boost in performance – something that will please anyone who has ever used their laptop on a metered connection. Strangely, however, there is no mention of iOS users getting the feature.

Video without the baggage

Although LiteVideo is still undergoing testing, you can already try it out if you are happy to use and unstable version of Chrome. The feature can be found in the Canary build of Chrome 86 – the desktop versions can be downloaded here (opens in new tab) and the Android version is available in Google Play (opens in new tab).

But just have the Canary build installed is not enough, you also need to enable an optional flag to activate LiteVideo. Pay a visit to chrome://flags, search for LiteVideos, and then enable the options labelled 'Enable LiteVideos' and 'Force LiteVideos decision'.

Via TechDows (opens in new tab) and AndroidPolice (opens in new tab)

Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson
Staff writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 20 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.


Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.


Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.


You can find her on Facebook (opens in new tab), Twitter (opens in new tab) and Mastodon (opens in new tab)

- (opens in new tab)