Chrome Gets Speed And Memory Boost

John Lister's picture

Google says Chrome will be faster and use less memory with the latest updates. That may not be enough to bring back users who've switched away though.

The browser has received three key updates, the first being to the "omnibox." That's the single box at the top of the browser used both for typing website URLs and inserting search terms.

When users start typing a term, they will now see suggestions, which update as users type more characters. The theory is that they will be able to click on a term and start the search more quickly than typing the term in full. (Source:

The search itself may then be quicker as Chrome will now start "prefetching" the results list for the most likely terms. This means the page is loaded in the background ready to display immediately if the user does indeed choose that search term.

Google says in tests, the change means results lists are now four times more likely to appear within 500 milliseconds, which it notes is equivalent to the blink of an eye. The feature will initially only work if users have Google set as their default search tool, though the company says other search engines can easily change their code to benefit.

Memory Hogging Tackled

The second update is to the way Chrome allocates memory among its various features. Google says this will reduce the total memory use by between 15 and 22 percent depending on the operating system. (Source:

That should reduce the risk of slowdowns when running other applications at the same time. However, that may still leave Chrome using more memory than other browsers, particularly when running multiple tabs. It's also uncertain if it will stop problems such as Chrome's memory use gradually increasing during a browsing session without an obvious cause.

Freezes Fixed

The third change tackles what Google says is the most common reason for Chrome completely freezing up and having to be restarted. It says the cause was a cache of browsing history that was designed to make Chrome start faster when opened.

Google has concluded that the speed increase was actually minimal and was easily outweighed by the extra demands on memory that the cache placed. In some cases the cache would hog memory it didn't need, leaving the rest of the browser unable to function.

What's Your Opinion?

If you use Chrome, are you happy with its performance? Would faster loading or less memory use affect your browser choice? Would you notice if your browser loaded results pages any quicker?

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Focused100's picture

I'd support any upgrade that uses less memory. I have a lot of tabs open. When I purchased a new laptop this year I made sure it came with 32 gigs of ram. That all but eliminated the out of memory issues I was having.

eric's picture

15-22% less memory usage is negligible compared to how much memory Chrome hogs. Preloading the search page is not going to make the browser overall any faster.
They could easily cut 50% or more RAM and CPU usage by getting rid of all their spying/telemetry, or at least setting it to off by default, as we see with Edge. But they won't. As usual, Google will do the bare minimum to make it seem like a change and then tout it as a big deal.

Also, the omni bar has always had search suggestions.