Using Google Chrome can sometimes be exhausting for weaker desktops and laptops, especially when you balance it with a more demanding program. This week, Google featured its fixes for the Spectre CPU vulnerabilities, that resulted in more RAM consumption on Chrome.
More RAM consumption on Chrome 67
Thurrot spotted a blog post where Google talks about the new Site isolation feature that can be found on the newest Chrome 67 release. This feature works by default, and it serves to protect the computer against the Spectre side-channel attacks which use the speculative execution that is on most processors and gets access to the parts of the memory that are supposed to be prohibited to the user. While the useful fix provides more security for Chrome users, it also adds more RAM consumption on Chrome as a result.
“Site Isolation does cause Chrome to create more renderer processes, which comes with performance tradeoffs,” Google software engineer Charlie Reis, was quoted in Google’s blog post. “There is about a 10-13% total memory overhead in real workloads due to the larger number of processes.”
“Site Isolation is a large change to Chrome’s architecture,” Reis added. “In Chrome 67 … even if a Spectre attack were to occur in a malicious web page, data from other websites would generally not be loaded into the same process, and so there would be much less data available to the attacker. This significantly reduces the threat posed by Spectre.”
This feature won’t be warmly embraced by users of this app, who are already dissatisfied in how Google Chrome distributes RAM, and often say that Google uses too much RAM. An increase of 10% may go unnoticed on powerful systems, however, users whose computers don’t exceed 4GB of RAM could have troubles using this browser now.
Working on a fix
This change in more RAM consumption on Chrome will hit computers sporting Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS. However, it is worth pointing out that Google is already exploring ways to reduce this significant increase.
“Our team continues to work hard to optimize this behavior to keep Chrome both fast and secure,” Reis explained.
Consumes more battery?
Google is dedicated to working on optimizing Chrome for its users, it would appear, after Microsoft publicly called the company out for making Google’s browser use up more of the laptop’s battery.
“We designed Microsoft Edge from the ground up to prioritize power efficiency and deliver more battery life, without any special battery saving mode or changes to the default settings. Our testing and data show that you can simply browse longer with Microsoft Edge than with Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on Windows 10 devices,” says Microsoft’s Windows blog.
While we want fast and secure, let’s hope Google Chrome will be able to cut down the impact on RAM usage, especially for those computers that might have issues.