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Chrome 17 Gets HTTP Pipelining

Google is a bit late to the party with this feature. Opera has had pipelining support since version 4 and Firefox has also included some customization freedom for users to adjust pipelining to alleviate the page load delays that are cause in high-latency situations.

Pipelining can be enabled via a flag in chrome://flags and will result in Chrome sending off multiple http requests before a response is received. The purpose is to shorten load times of pages especially on slow client-server systems. The improvement is very limited at this time and highly subjective. Google is unlikely to offer this feature for customization, but indicated that Chrome will automatically select the best number of pipelines. There is no proxy support and there is no way for the system to deal with servers that do not support pipelining or incorrectly implement pipelining. Google said that it will be fixing this feature in the future.

It is unclear when pipelining will be available by default. However, Chrome 17 is about 12 - 14 weeks from its final release and there is plenty of time to prep the feature. You can test drive pipelining in Chrome by downloading a recent Chromium snapshot. The feature is integrated in the browser in build versions 106364 and higher.