Google Research

Flywheel: Google's Data Compression Proxy for the Mobile Web

  • Victor Agababov
  • Michael Buettner
  • Victor Chudnovsky
  • Mark Cogan
  • Ben Greenstein
  • Shane McDaniel
  • Michael Piatek
  • Colin Scott
  • Matt Welsh
  • Bolian Yin
Proceedings of the 12th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 2015)


Mobile devices are increasingly the dominant Internet access technology. Nevertheless, high costs, data caps, and throttling are a source of widespread frustration, and a significant barrier to adoption in emerging markets.

This paper presents Flywheel, an HTTP proxy service that extends the life of mobile data plans by compressing responses in-flight between origin servers and client browsers. Flywheel is integrated with the Chrome web browser and reduces the size of proxied web pages by 50% for a median user. We report measurement results from millions of users as well as experience gained during three years of operating and evolving the production service at Google.

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