Chrome is finally getting faster on Mac

Chrome is finally getting faster on Mac

You know all those promises we’ve heard about Chrome performance on Mac getting better soon, that never seems to eventuate? It might be finally on the horizon if Chrome 46, which is a bleeding-edge test build, is any indication.

I’ve been using the test build for the last week since spotting a tweet that indicated it might finally be getting faster. Having written about how bad Chrome has become in the past, I was naturally enthusiastic to try anything that might improve performance.

I didn’t believe it would be possible at first, but after spending the better part of a week on Chrome 46 I’m blown away. Memory consumption seems to have halved, groggy slow tabs are snappier than ever and my battery life isn’t shamefully bad anymore — also, my laptop’s fans aren’t constantly blowing.

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 2.14.34 PM
In the past sometimes Chrome would consume gigabytes of memory

So what changed? It appears a combination of factors have lead to a serious performance jump in the upcoming version of Chrome.

The Chromium team has been working to improve Mac graphics performance over the last few months and has begun testing its fixes, along with focusing on major memory leaks in the browser.

It’s also experimenting with tab discarding in the background which puts unused tabs to sleep if memory runs low.

Javascript performance also appears to have been a major factor. The V8 team has significantly improved its garbage collection process noting that it’s seeing a 45 percent improvement in memory performance on Gmail’s site — that’s also just starting to land in Canary and Dev now.

All I know is that I’m willing to put up with the bugs and weirdness that comes with using a bleeding-edge Chrome build so I can get the buttery smooth performance I remember from when the browser first launched.

If you’re as crazy as I am, you can install Chrome Canary to get that fresh browser smell back. Just bear in mind it’ll probably break.

Image credit: Reddit

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