What drives the UC Browser

    The founder of UC Browser talks about the technology behind one of the most popular browsers in the world.

    You may already be familiar with UC Browser, as well as 400 million users worldwide. Russia is one of the most interesting markets for us, and we launched the Russian version of UC Browser for a long time. Ten years ago, when mobile Internet was uncharted territory, we founded UC Browser. Since then, we have gone through rapid growth and witnessed radical changes in the industry. Our company was not a simple observer, otherwise we would not have reached the position in which we are now. We invested in technology and set the standards that shaped our company, and still determine its future.

    Technology Above All


    One of the greatest advantages of UC Browser is its cloud computing technology, which is the basis for key browser capabilities, including data compression, cloud acceleration, the ability to pause downloads, and many others. Cloud computing technology is based on a client-server architecture (browser-server). UC Browser servers operate as proxies that compress web page data before sending it to users. This process reduces the amount of traffic used by up to 85%, and allows you to download content faster.
    Cloud computing is a competitive advantage of UC Browser since 2004. A little later, the client-server architecture first used in UC Browser began to be used by most mobile browsers, and became the de facto standard for the mobile industry.

    The early days of mobile internet.

    At the beginning of the development of mobile Internet, the data transfer rate was very low and the computing capabilities of mobile phones left much to be desired. At the same time, websites were much simpler and not as loaded with media content as they are today. The main needs of people were graphics and text. UC Browser servers can remove content that users don’t want to see, compressing images to reduce traffic, speed up loading and rendering of pages. UC Browser was an ideal solution for an undeveloped network and a lack of applications due to the limited capabilities of phones of that time.

    In addition to cloud computing technology that speeds up download speeds, UC Browser has always offered a comfortable and easy-to-use design, such as “shortcut management”. You can press # to call up the menu, then press a number to call up any function, such as “bookmark”. This was indeed a very convenient feature on phones that did not have touch screens. Also, the browser was optimized so that the limited capabilities of the phones of that time were enough for comfortable web surfing. At that time, UC Browser gained momentum and grew significantly.

    The Internet was an expensive technology for many people, but we made it more affordable using a different approach. As a result, many users were previously able to access the Internet through UC Browser on the phone than on the computer.

    New standards for the era of smartphones

    The advent of the iPhone and the commercialization of high-speed access has revolutionized the mobile world. Web pages (including HTML5 pages) are also becoming more full of media content, flash, video, large images, etc. which increased the load on the browser. Meanwhile, strong competitors appeared, and we were involved in fierce rivalry. In addition, the growing popularity of applications has slowed the growth of mobile traffic. In 2010, native apps, with the exception of browsers, accounted for 50% of total mobile data, according to a report from a company specializing in mobile market analytics.

    Despite all the tests, we used this opportunity to expand, taking advantage of our platform to meet high requirements.

    U3 core as our new weapon

    Over time, we realized that cloud computing technology was not enough to significantly differ from competitors. Mobile Internet is a multi-directional industry that interacts with all kinds of technologies, and browsers that rely on old technologies do not meet the needs of users and the technical capabilities of devices. Therefore, we invested a lot of resources and after three years of hard work, in 2011 we completed the development of the U3 core. The U3 core is based on client-server architecture and WebKit, but the processing algorithm has been optimized to better support HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. This not only improved the overall performance of UC Browser, but also provided more room for expansion. In July 2013, together with UC Browser 9.0 for Android, we first introduced the add-on platform,


    WebKit working algorithm (Source: Tali Garsiel)

    Technology is very important, but they require local ingredients.

    Different markets have different preferences. A browser can be perceived by a large number of users only after it meets local needs. We try to use the “Glocal Strategy”, which is to globalize the product by adding local elements. Therefore, we pay great attention to the localization of our services (support for many languages, localized navigation, etc.), and also launched an add-on platform where, with the help of add-ons from third-party developers, users can further personalize web surfing.
    Downloading files is another feature of the browser that reflects our localization efforts. After some research, we noticed that users from developing countries often use UC Browser to download. We decided to take advantage of cloud technology to make UC Browser a powerful platform for downloading files. To achieve high download speeds, we used segmented file transfer, and multi-threaded downloads. We split the file into several parts and download these parts simultaneously through several channels. The loading algorithms have been optimized to increase the efficiency of reading data from the server. Also, we have increased the efficiency of writing files to storage.


    The process of downloading files to UC Browser

    We conducted a series of tests with the participation of UC Browser and its competitors, and found out that we achieved the highest file upload speed among mobile browsers. Thanks to cloud technology, UC Browser is also able to download several files simultaneously in the background, automatically reconnecting each time when the connection is interrupted.

    Balancing between simplicity and functionality.

    In an effort to satisfy the needs of Russian users, we put considerable effort into localization, trying to maintain a balance between the need to build in many functions and the concept of simplicity and ease of use.
    We intend to continue the development of mobile Internet, which is progressing thanks to high expectations and new innovative technologies.

    Also popular now: