Memory use may be one of the deciding factors when it comes to selecting a browser. While it may not play a big role on systems with plenty of RAM, say 4 Gigabyte or more, it is still a hot topic on systems with less.
Google Chrome is known for its memory hunger. If you open ten sites in Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge, you will likely notice that Chrome requires the most memory.
Chrome 55 memory improvements
Google announced recently that Chrome 55 will ship with memory improvements that reduce the browser's memory hunger.
The first part of the announcement details how Google tracked and measured the improvements. While interesting from a technical point of view, the first couple of paragraphs offer little information on the improvements.
The sites that Google benchmarked memory usage on includes several important properties including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Imgur, Flipboard and the New York Times.
Google noticed an average heap size reduction of 50% when it ran benchmark tests on Chrome 53 and 55.
The second memory related improvement that went into Chrome 55 benefits the browser on all devices.
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.
Improvements are noticeable on all sites Google used to benchmark the improvements.
The reductions look impressive on first glance, but it remains to be seen if users will notice similar memory use improvements when their version of Chrome is updated to version 55.
Users who don't want to wait can download the Dev or Canary version of Chrome which are already at version 55 and 56 respectively to see if they notice improvements when using the browser.
Google plans to release Chrome 55 to the release channel in December 2016.