It’s been almost 15 years since the last standard of HTTP was ratified.
HTTP is the protocol which transports web pages across the internet. It’s a brilliantly thought out and quite simple protocol. It’s beginning to show it’s age though, especially with the rise of many requests across multiple web servers. AJAX and newer technologies like WebSockets have worked around it’s limitations. It’s inefficient at connections, is designed to be stateless, so doesn’t maintain data in it’s headers between requests, and it’s not great at doing lots of requests in parallel. So, some clever bods at Google and elsewhere have come up with a new standard, which is due to join browsers next year.
There’s some technologies like Google’s SPDY which have helped in the meantime, but this protocol change is really what the web needs for efficiency improvement, especially on mobile devices.
When this makes it to browsers, (and web servers) we’ll see some real speed ups on many web sites.