Chrome started out as one of the least memory hungry browsers on the market, but over time, it developed a bit more of an appetite for RAM. Now, however, Google is starting to get back to basics and the latest Chrome release (version 45) focuses on making the browser faster and more efficient.
As the company announced in a blog post today, Chrome 45 includes a number of updates that focus on making Chrome load faster and use less memory. When you restart the browser, for example, and Chrome restores your tabs, the browser will now first open those tabs you most recently looked at, so you can get back to work (or browsing car videos) faster.
That will save a few seconds here and there, but the real updates are in how Chrome now manages memory.
Starting with this update, the browser will recognize when your computer is running low on resources when it’s restoring tabs and then stops restoring them until you actively click to restore them yourself. For the most part, this will likely only affect those of you who regularly have a few dozen tabs open, but if memory usage is a major issue on your machine, then every little megabyte counts (and you should probably look at extensions like The Great Suspender, too).
Most importantly, though, Chrome now notices when you’re not using a tab for a while or a website isn’t busy with another task and then uses that time to free up unused memory. Google says its tests have shown that this can cut memory usage by 10 percent on average, though more complex web apps will obviously profit from this more than your average Tripod homepage.
As previously announced, Chrome will now also start automatically pausing Flash videos that it thinks aren’t “central” to a website. For this, Google’s tests have shown that turning on this setting can make your battery last up to 15 percent longer, so Google will now turn this feature on for all users by default in the coming weeks.