Google promises Chrome will stop being a memory hog soon

10 Oct 2016

Chrome logo in sand. Image: tanuha2001/Shutterstock

Users of the Chrome browser will be happy to know that an upcoming update will prevent it taking up huge amounts of memory, especially on mobile devices.

Despite it being the most popular web browser in the world, Google Chrome is not without its issues, particularly when it comes to consuming a computer’s memory.

This is typically down to the amount of different extensions and services linked or used within the browser, but the coding behind Chrome also contributes to the speed that has been widely criticised in the past.

Future Human

Now the team behind Chrome’s development, Chromium, is in the process of putting some final touches to a future build of Chrome that will hopefully ease the workload of a computer’s RAM.

To do this, the team explained in a blog post, it is building a new V8 JavaScript engine that will help generate many of the web’s most popular websites much faster.

This process began with determining what the biggest memory users were during a typical browsing session as well as those during media playback, such as clicking on a series of links or just opening up a YouTube video.

By capturing data from these operations, the Chromium team can tweak around with the code to get it running as smoothly as possible.

Memory usage diagram

Memory usage in the current build (blue) v the newer engine (red). Image: Chromium/Google

December release

The Chromium team then put its new V8 engine to the test by getting it running on some of the most visited websites including Reddit, Twitter and The New York Times.

On average, it was found that these sites were using 50pc less RAM on average using the new engine than before, which would make it a considerable improvement to the browser’s current performance.

While desktop computers with high quantities of RAM might be capable of handling Chrome in its current state, the optimisation of the browser could make browsing a lot easier on mobile devices with low amounts of RAM.

This won’t be an immediate change however, as it is due to come out on 6 December in Chrome 55, two versions after the current Chrome 53.

Looking further into the future, the Chromium team will be working on getting the browser optimised to work faster on devices with less than 1GB of memory.

Chrome logo in sand. Image: tanuha2001/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic