This is probably old news, but see SPDY. SPDY is a protocol intended to replace HTTP. The interesting part is that it's not just a proposed protocol, but actually used daily when you use Google Chrome to access Google's websites and services. What this means is that, probably sooner or later, others will adopt. Quote:
SPDY is a research project in TCP-based application-level protocol for transporting web content. It is proposed by Google as a replacement for HTTP.
The goal of SPDY is to reduce web page load time. This is achieved by prioritizing and multiplexing the transfer of several files so that only one connection per client is required. All transmissions are SSL encrypted and gzip compressed by design (in contrast to HTTP, the headers are compressed too). Moreover, servers may hint or even push content instead of awaiting individual requests for each resource of a web page.
Google Chrome utilizes SPDY when communicating with Google services, such as Google Search, Gmail, Chrome sync and when serving Google's ads. Google acknowledges that the use of SPDY is enabled in the communication between Chrome and Google's SSL-enabled servers. SPDY sessions can be inspected in Chrome at the special URL 〔chrome://net-internals/#events&q=type:SPDY_SESSION%20is:active〕.
Check out that special url in Chrome.
It's not a wonder, that Google Chrome is faster in general. (among quite a few other reasons.)
I predict that Google Chrome will be the most popular browser before the end of 2012.
I use 5 browsers DAILY. I'll have to say, Google Chrome today is already the best, all things considered. (i rate Firefox second, Opera 3rd, Safari 4th, IE8 last. (all rating based on my experience on Windows versions))