Google Chrome 55 will come with huge memory usage improvements

By Shaoor Munir on
October 10, 2016
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Google’s famous web browser Chrome will soon see huge improvements in memory usage starting from version 55. Version 55 will hit the stable channel, currently on version 53, sometime in December.

Chrome has been notorious in the past for using huge chunks of system memory for various speed hacks like pre-rendering of web pages and separate threads for each and every task. It seems that Google is aware of this issue and is working on some changes in memory handling which will result in a huge reduction in memory consumption for tasks related to JavaScript on web pages.

Google recently announced changes to V8, the part of the browser which is responsible for handling JavaScript. Google measured the changes in the newest version with the current version and found it using up to 50 percent less memory in peak scenarios for the newest version. Google divided the improvements in two categories: JavaScript Heap Size Reduction, and Zone Memory Reduction.

JavaScript Heap Size Reduction

Google improved upon the already present JavaScript Heap Garbage Collector and revised heuristics to allow for more strict garbage collection. This will allow for lower memory devices to reduce overall memory footprint as JavaScript Heap proved to be a huge part of memory usage in Google’s tests. Google tested the improvements by visiting popular websites with both current 53 version of Google Chrome and newer 55 version. The results of the tests are detailed in following illustrative graphs.

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Zone Memory Reduction

According to Google, one of the main improvements in regards to Zone Memory comes from reducing memory consumption during background parsing. Background parsing allows the JavaScript engine of Chrome to parse JavaScript scripts while the page is loaded. Google noticed that the parser would keep zones alive longer than necessary. The company’s engineers changed the duration which resulted in reduced average and peak memory usage in Chrome. The improvements due to this are also noticeable in Google’s results.

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What all of this means for the common user?

Stepping away from all the technical jargon, common users should see considerably less memory usage while running Chrome version 55 on their machines. Less memory consumption will result in better battery life and overall improvement in user experience for both Desktop and Mobile users.

You can expect to run Chrome version 55 on your devices somewhere in the middle of December. If you want to try these changes for yourself right now, you can download Chrome Dev for Android here and Desktop here. However, if you want to remain on the safe side, we will make sure to update you once these updates are available in the stable channel.

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