Google Chrome’s Craving For RAM About To Go Down

Google Chrome is a memory hog, everyone knows that. The problem is, it’s also the world’s most used web browser. So it stands to reason that much of the world’s mobile and desktop devices are being taken for every byte they are worth when it comes to web browsing. However, that’s about to change with the new version of Chrome coming out in December. It’s Chrome 55, and it is showing signs of cutting down RAM usage by about 50%.

Despite its many great features, Chrome remains a huge consumer of RAM and this slows down the most capable of machines. It’s the reason that one of my friends has always preferred Firefox to Chrome. He just can’t afford to waste time while it starts up and slows down all his other applications. But last year, Google started to roll out features to make Chrome just a little bit zippier like intelligent tab restoration which reduced the impact of webpages on RAM by 10%. However, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the oodles of RAM being used by Chrome.

Chrome Build 55 means to heavily reduce RAM usage. The update comes from an updated JavaScript V8 engine that reduces zone memory and heap size. It is already showing signs of doing so on websites like YouTube, Facebook, Reddit and The New York Times and the Washington Post. However, this won’t be enough to do it. Sure these websites attract a lot of internet traffic but there are literally millions of other websites out there that Google needs to account for. Also, not all the mentioned websites experience a 50% decrease in RAM usage. The New York Times does, but the Washington Post, not so much.

The update is aimed at devices which have a memory up to 1 GB, which is most low end to mid level devices excluding the likes of the OnePlus which presents premium performance at mid range prices.

This may not have been a problem five or ten years ago since people weren’t as liable to open 50 tabs in a single browsing session. But heck, they’re all doing it now. I have nearly 40 tabs open on the Chrome browser on my phone and keep adding more as I go through the day and I admit, the application slows down. Frustratingly so.

The update is scheduled for 6th December this year so hopefully by then, the RAM usage can be significantly decreased across many more websites.