Firefox 36.0 brings HTTP/2 to your browser so fast you barely noticed

25 Feb 2015

Firefox image via Francesco Lodolo/Flickr

Firefox’s latest release sees the popular web browser embrace HTTP/2, meaning a lot less time spent waiting on web pages to load.

Officially released yesterday, 36.0 sees three main additions to Firefox – pinned tiles on the new tab page can now be synced, Uzbek has been added and, most importantly, it supports the full HTTP/2 protocol, enabling “a faster, more scalable, and more responsive web,” says the company.

Last week, the Internet Engineering Task Force announced the impending redesign of HTTP for the first time since 1999, following the growing pressure being put on version 1.1 with the increase in video and communication files littered throughout modern web pages.

This is big news as it will see load times drop by up to 30pc online, with the extra speed created by establishing one constant connection between the browser and the server, in comparison to HTTP’s old way of making a new connection every time a piece of information was needed.

As Engadget notes, this significantly reduces the amount of data being transferred, improving time.

“Plus, it transfers data in binary, a computer’s native language, rather than in text. This means your computer doesn’t have to waste time translating information into a format it understands.”

Indeed Engadget even reports that Google’s engineers pioneered this upgrade, which is understandable when you consider how speed directly correlates to how the company makes its money.

HTTP/2 isn’t universal just yet, of course, with no set start date for the service. There’s a good chance you are using it now, just take a look in your browser bar and see if it’s up there.

Either way, if you rely on your online use then this is good news, with many more following suit in the near future one would presume.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic