Google adds ‘QUIC’ to Chrome, further speeds up the web

Today the Mountain View-based company unveiled support for a new experimental protocol called Quick UDP Internet Connections (QUIC) in the latest version of Chrome Canary.

Hoping to speed up load times, QUIC runs a stream multiplexing on top of UDP instead of TCP. Google say they have been working on implementation for the past few months.

On choosing UDP instead of TCP, the company says it learned from past experience “that real-world network conditions often differ considerably.”

Always at the forefront of new protocol support; this news comes not long after Google put their weight behind WebRTC, which creates a direct peer-to-peer connection bypassing a central server.

The most interesting other example is ‘SPDY’ which is to become the foundation of the upcoming HTTP 2.0 protocol.

On explaining why Google are putting research into QUIC over SPDY – which already offers multiplexing – the company’s FAQ explains: “SPDY currently runs across TCP, and that induces some undesirable latency costs (even though SPDY is already producing lower latency results than traditional HTTP over TCP).”

As for some of the unique benefits:

  • Fast (often 0-RTT) connectivity similar to TLS Snapstart combined with TCP Fast Open.
  • High security similar to TLS.
  • Packet error correction to reduce retransmission latency.
  • Packet pacing to reduce packet loss.
  • UDP transport to avoid TCP head-of-line blocking.
  • A connection identifier to reduce reconnections for mobile clients.
  • A pluggable congestion control mechanism.

The first work on the protocol was actually discovered last year by some evangelists, but only made officially part of the Chromium project today.

Are you looking forward to the capabilities of Google’s QUIC protocol?

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