Tech

Google Chrome: the optimization that many of us expected

Do you know that last Saturday, December 11, 13 years since the launch of Google Chrome? (If you remember trying it before, the first thing is to tell you that you have an elephant memory, and the second is that the beta was released three months before, in September of that same year). Well, after apologizing for this clear reference to how quickly time passes and how old we get, I think it is interesting to think a bit about everything that Google has achieved with its browser.

In January 2009, when it was just a newcomer, its market share was 1.37%. Who dominated the market?

Source: StatCounter Global Stats

I thought it best to see it on a graph, which we can now compare with the one from November of this year, last month, to see how much the chips have moved in these years:

Source: StatCounter Global Stats

From a little more than one in a hundred to almost two in three, the search engine company can undoubtedly take heart from the success of Google Chrome.

During all these years, however, not everything has been rosy for the Google browser. In addition to the criticisms that arise around the common products and services of the company, mainly related to the massive collection of data from its users, in the case of Google Chrome there are also other criticisms, also quite common, in relation to its performance and, to be more exact, of the enormous volume of resources (mainly RAM memory) that it usually hogs when it is running.

As a Google Chrome user (I actually use multiple browsers) I have a divided opinion on this. And yes, On the one hand, it is true that the performance of Google Chrome could be much more optimal than it is currently. On some occasion I have compared the consumption of resources, under the same conditions, of various browsers, and without exception I have seen what I was expecting, and that is that the Google browser destroys resources whenever it can.

Now, on the other hand, I cannot fail to mention that, although this does not affect everyone, it is true that many people are given to accumulate a large number of open tabs. And in systems in which several desktops are used (either real, each with its monitor, or virtual) it is not strange to find a browser window, be it Google Chrome or any other, on at least several of these desktops. For example, in my case I work with five virtual desktops, and three of them have a browser window open (15, 11 and 14 tabs, respectively at the moment).

What happen? Well, the normal thing would be that the tabs that are in the background, as a general rule, do not consume resources. But of course, that cannot be applied to all lashes. I return to my example: of the tabs that I have open, one of them I use to access Spotify or Apple Music via the web (at this moment I am using Apple’s service), another two contain the web versions of WhatsApp and Telegram, and two more I use to access the two email accounts that I use regularly. If Google Chrome freezes these tabs, the truth is that it could do me a wreck.

Thus, aware of the use of tabs in the background, Google has been providing us with tools to better control what happens in some tabs, as we could see for example a few months ago. However, its great workhorse, for a long time, has been to improve the performance of Google Chrome. In May, for example, they gave us a couple of good news about it, fine-tuning the way Javascript works and realigning the back-forward cache, not to mention previous efforts to implement SegmentHeap.

A key factor, however, has to do with what I indicated above, the tabs in the background, and the good news is that, as we can read on the Chromium blog, with several improvements recently introduced now Google Chrome is faster on Windows 10 and Windows 11, thanks to a better distribution of resources that not only accelerates the experience of using the browser, but also reduces the overall consumption of system resources.

And it is that yes, surely you are thinking that we have already talked about this before, about improvements in the management of tabs in the background of Google Chrome, but until now, so much attention had not been paid to something that I commented before that many users do: having Multiple windows open, whether they are in the background, on other desktops, or minimized. And is that take all the tabs of these windows to the same way as those that are in the background, it also translates into a significant performance improvement.

According to the company, Google Chrome is now up to 25.8% faster on startup and a 3.1% reduction in GPU memory usage has been observed. Similarly, Google reports that the number of rendered frames has been reduced by 20.4%, which undoubtedly relieves the system of a significant workload. In this way, navigation is faster and resource consumption is lower.

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