Google Wants To Speed Up The Web With Its QUIC Protocol
You may have never heard of it, but if you are a Chrome user, chances are you’ve used Google’s QUIC protocol already. As Google disclosed this week, about half of all requests from Chrome to Google’s servers are now served over QUIC.
So what’s the big deal here? QUIC is Google’s experimental, low-latency Internet transportation protocol over UDP, a protocol that is often used by gaming, streaming media and VoIP services. The name ‘QUIC’ stands for Quick UDP Internet Connection.
UDP’s (and QUIC’s) counterpart in the protocol world is basically TCP (which in combination with the Internet Protocol (IP) makes up the core communication language of the Internet). UDP is significantly more lightweight than TCP, but in return, it features far fewer error correction services than TCP. This means that the sending server isn’t constantly talking to the receiving server to check if packages arrived and if they arrived in the right order, for example. That’s why UDP is great for gaming services. For these services, you want low overhead to reduce latency and if the server didn’t receive your latest mouse movement, there’s no need to spend a second or two to fix that because the action has already moved on. You wouldn’t want to use it to request a website, though, because you couldn’t guarantee that all the data would make it.
With QUIC, Google aims to combine some of the best features of UDP and TCP with modern security tools.