Google Research

Brotli: A General-Purpose Data Compressor

ACM Transactions on Information Systems (2019)


Brotli is an open source general-purpose data compressor introduced by Google in late 2013 and now adopted in most known browsers and Web servers. It is publicly available on GitHub and its data format was submitted as RFC 7932 in July 2016. Brotli is based on the Lempel-Ziv compression scheme and planned as a generic replacement of Gzip and ZLib. The main goal in its design was to compress data on the Internet, which meant optimizing the resources used at decoding time, while achieving maximal compression density.

This article is intended to provide the first thorough, systematic description of the Brotli format as well as a detailed computational and experimental analysis of the main algorithmic blocks underlying the current encoder implementation, together with a comparison against compressors of different families constituting the state-of-the-art either in practice or in theory. This treatment will allow us to raise a set of new algorithmic and software engineering problems that deserve further attention from the scientific community.

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