opera max  (1)

Opera Software announced the launch in beta of a new service that aims to drastically reduce data consumption on Android devices by compressing all non-encrypted HTTP traffic hitting your device.

Dubbed Opera Max, the service routes incoming traffic through Opera’s servers, where data is compressed before it’s relayed to your phone or tablet. In essence, Max adds compression functionality to a classic VPN service. According to a blog post announcing the service, only non-encrypted HTTP traffic is compressed, with HTTPs and UDP traffic going through unchanged. Opera claims it will only measure traffic going through Max, in order to give you statistics on how much data you saved and consumed. Presumably, this means the Norwegian company won’t access your data in any way.

Opera Max works with traffic from web browsers and other apps, as long as data isn’t encrypted. Opera offered Facebook data as an example of traffic that won’t be compressed. However, traffic from “a majority of apps”, including text and media, will be encrypted. The potential savings depend on the type of content you access – compressing images or video, for instance, won’t have a major effect, because most media files are already compressed.

Opera Software is known for its eponymous web browsers, which include Opera Mini, a browser that compresses web content to reduce data consumption.

Opera now accepts registrations for the Max beta program, open to US residents using Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. To sign up for the program, you have to join this Google Plus community, then register, and download the Opera Max app from the Play Store.

The beta is free, but once the service launches commercially, Opera will probably monetize it, either through a monthly fee or through advertisements.

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