Google Chrome Will Tackle Its Memory Hog Demons With December Update

Google Chrome browser
Google's Chrome is the most used internet browser on the planet, but it is not without its faults. Chrome has been routinely criticized for its excessive memory usage and battery consumption over the years, and Google is taking steps to combat both problems.

After taking repeated blows to the head from Microsoft over Chrome’s impact on battery life compared to Edge, Google publicized its efforts to give mobile users longer runtimes. While it is still unlikely to match Edge’s battery performance in Windows 10 (for now), the improvements are definitely noteworthy.

Now, Google is exorcizing another Chrome demon: memory usage. More specifically, Google has optimized Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine so that its parser and compilers make better use of memory — especially on mobile devices where available memory is often at a premium.

Google has already made some impressive strides in improving Chrome battery life.

“Over the last few months the V8 team analyzed and significantly reduced the memory footprint of several websites that were identified as representative of modern web development patterns,” said Google’s V8 Memory Sanitation Engineers in a blog posting. “Over the next months we will continue our work on reducing the memory footprint of V8. We have more zone memory optimizations planned for the parser and we plan to focus on devices ranging from 512M-1G of memory.”

Google in particular looked at some of the internet’s most popular sites — CNN, The New York Times, reddit, Twitter, YouTube — and plotted out how a typical user would interact with each. Based on this captured workflow, Google was able to benchmark performance to make optimizations in its code. So far, Google has been able to reduce peak zone memory consumption by 40 percent on average, while heap size has decreased by 50 percent.

The latest Chromium 55 build with these memory usage improvements dropped on October 6th. Google expects for the final, stable release of Chrome 55 to launch on December 6th for the public.