Google has offered a way to reduce data usage with Chrome for iOS and Android for more than a year, and now it is delivering the same proxy compression technology to Chrome on the desktop with Data Saver. It routes your Web traffic through Google's servers, where pages are compressed before being sent along to you. As a result, you'll use less data and the lighter pages will load faster.
You may not have the same need for data reduction on your laptop or desktop as you do when attempting to access a page in Chrome on your phone with a cellular connection, but should you be suffering with a particularly slow Wi-Fi connection, Data Saver could prove useful by helping to load pages faster.
When you install Data Saver, it works without needing to restart Chrome and places a button to the right of Chrome's URL bar. You can use this button to turn Data Saver on and off and also to see your data savings. Google has placed a beta tag on Data Saver, and you'll need Chrome 41 or higher to use the extension.
As with mobile, Data Saver does not work on secure (https) or private (Incognito) pages. Google notes that some sites may not be able to determine your location, some images might look fuzzy, and internal intranet sites may not load.
In my short experience with Data Saver this afternoon, I took it to the slowest corner of my house and found that some pages seemed to load a bit faster, and I didn't see any fuzzy images as a result of my slight speed gains. The difference isn't so great that I'll keep Data Saver enabled at all times, but I plan to keep it on hand for times when my Internet service becomes frustratingly slow.
In closing, it should be noted that a third-party Chrome extension has offered similar functionality as Google's Data Saver extension, but now you can get it straight from Chrome's maker.