Chrome hogging too much memory? Not for much longer, says Google

Google is tackling high memory consumption by its Chrome browser, promising major improvements, especially for mobile devices.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google's figures for low-memory devices since Chrome 53 suggest a 50 percent reduction in average heap memory consumption.

Image: Google

Google says the new version of Chrome that's in the pipeline will be less of a drag on your precious phone or PC memory.

The claimed improvements are on the way in the form of Chrome 55, due out in December, with a new V8 JavaScript engine.

Benchmarking tests from Google have shown Chrome can deliver a "significantly reduced" memory footprint when visiting several popular websites, according to its developers.

Google built V8 to ensure Chrome was speedy when loading complex websites, but in pursuit of speed the browser has also gained a reputation as a memory hog that slows down the one billion machines it's running on.

Key optimizations in Chrome 55 come via 'garbage collector', a feature it introduced last year that cleans out unused memory from Chrome.

Google has also fine-tuned V8 for low-memory mobile devices and in tests on The New York Times mobile site achieved 66 percent reduction in average V8 'heap' memory consumption. It posted smaller reductions on several other popular sites, including Facebook, Hacker News, and The Washington Post.

The company has also made improvements to V8's handling of 'zone' or temporary memory used in Chrome, with reductions of about 40 percent.

Over the coming months it plans to focus on further optimizations for smartphones, targeting devices with RAM of between 512MB and 1GB.


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