Protocol Buffers are a way of encoding structured data in an efficient
yet extensible format. Google uses Protocol Buffers for almost all of
its internal RPC protocols and file formats.
Protocol buffers are a flexible, efficient, automated mechanism for
serializing structured data – think XML, but smaller, faster, and
simpler. You define how you want your data to be structured once, then
you can use special generated source code to easily write and read
your structured data to and from a variety of data streams and using a
variety of languages. You can even update your data structure without
breaking deployed programs that are compiled against the "old" format.