- Update to ‘HTTP’ protocol which underlies the web
- Ageing technology has underpinnned sites for 15 years
- Google and Microsoft creating new technologies to speed up web
- ‘We need to make browsing much faster’ – Microsoft
- Microsoft wants to speed up apps as well as browsers
By Rob Waugh
PUBLISHED: 07:25 EST, 29 March 2012 | UPDATED: 09:58 EST, 29 March 2012
Microsoft and Google are spearheading a drive to speed up the entire world wide web.
The letters ‘HTTP’ are familiar to all web users as part of web addresses – for instance, in http://www.dailymail.co.uk – but the 15-year-old method of delivering webpages to your screen is in need of an update.
The Internet Engineering Task Force is meeting this week to discuss how to ‘update’ the ageing technology.
HTTP – or ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol’ – is the foundation of how websites transmit and receive data, and it has underpinned the World Wide Web for more than a decade.
Tech insiders believe that the protocol – designed when the web consisted of text-based pages – is in need of an update to bring the web up to speed for an era where many users access sites via apps.
Microsoft’s Jean Paoli, who helped invent a code called XML, which helps with webpage and document design, is hoping to see a revolution.
He said: ‘The current HTTP standard protocol is slow because it must request documents from a server and wait for the document to be sent before it can display a webpage.
‘Improving HTTP starts with speed. There is already broad consensus about the need to make web browsing much faster.
‘We think that apps – not just browsers – should get faster too. More and more, apps are how people access web services, in addition to their browser.’
Microsoft is to submit a proposal entitled ‘HTTP – Speed and Mobility’ this week, outlining its plans.
Paoli hopes that the new HTTP 2.0 will not only speed up the web, but also improve battery life on smartphones, which will spend less time connecting to websites.
Microsoft’s proposal will take in its own Websockets technology and Google’s SPDY – another protocol designed to reduce web page-load times.
It’s already used in some services – including Google’s Gmail and Twitter – but remains relatively rare.