Google back in 2009 released a whitepaper for SPDY (pronounced Speedy), an application-layer protocol for transporting content over the web. The idea was to reduce the load time when connecting to web pages through features such as HTTP header compression, request prioritization or multiplexed streams. Test runs comparing SPDY to standard connections show speed improvements between 43% and 63% using the same Internet connection.
When it comes to support, we need to distinguish between web browsers that support SPDY, and web services that support the new technology. As far as web browsers are concerned, only Google Chrome and Firefox are currently supporting SPDY. Google Chrome users can check for SPDY sessions by loading
chrome://net-internals/#events&q=type:SPDY_SESSION%20is:active in the browser. SPDY support for Firefox has been added in Firefox 11, but activated by default in Firefox 13.
Opera has released an experimental client that is supporting SPDY2 and SPDY3. It is likely that it will be implemented in one of the next stable releases of the web browser.
As far as web services and sites go, it is Google that is supporting SPDY on many of their properties. Twitter, some time ago, integrated SPDY as well, and today, it is Facebook, that also made an announced in this regard. While not yet active on the site, the developers have stated that the implementation is nearly complete and will be activated in the near future.
We currently are implementing SPDY/v2, due to the availability of browser support and the immediate gains we expect to reap. Although we have not run SPDY in production yet, our implementation is almost complete and we feel qualified to comment on SPDY from the implementor's perspective. We are planning to deploy SPDY widely at large scale and will share our deployment experiences as we gain them.
Facebook users who are running a web browser that is supporting SPDY will soon benefit from faster page loading times thanks to the implementation of the technology on Facebook.
Even with the backing of Facebook, Twitter and Google, and support in Chrome, Firefox and Opera, SPDY has a long way to go before it becomes part of every Internet user's life. Support by popular services such as Twitter or Facebook on the other hand could speed that up significantly.
Apache webmasters and server admins who like to integrate SPDY into their servers and services can take a closer look at mod_spdy to do so.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.