Are Google Chrome’s RAM-eating days finally numbered?

Google Chrome
(Image credit: Flystock / Shutterstock)

Google Chrome is the most popular internet browser in the world, but it’s also notorious for using up loads of RAM, but hopefully that will soon change.

According to a report by Windows Latest, Chrome engineers are looking to improve Chrome’s RAM management with the ‘PartitionAlloc FastMalloc’ feature, which should see big performance improvements if it works.

The fact that Chrome uses up so much RAM in a PC has long been a source of frustration for many people, as it can have an impact on how well the browser, and the rest of your PC, performs.

A long time coming

Because of Chrome’s RAM-hogging nature, the browser has been getting an increasingly bad reputation, and while its market lead is almost unassailable at this point, with recent stats showing it was used by a huge 69.25% of internet denizens, way ahead of Firefox, which is just on 7.22%, and Microsoft’s new Edge, which is on 9.71%.

Speaking of Edge, Microsoft’s browser now uses the same Chromium engine as Chrome, and Microsoft has been working to make its browser less RAM-intensive by using feature known as ‘SegmentHeap’, which the company claimed could reduce overall RAM use in Edge by 27%.

Many of us hoped that Google would use this with Chrome as well, however back in July, the company dashed those hopes by disabling the feature in its own browser, citing performance issues.

Thankfully, it seems Google is still keen to improve Chrome memory management, and devs are looking into using the new PartitionAlloc FastMalloc feature, which will enable dedicated partitions for the browser cache. Operations used by Chrome will be optimized, and resources will be allocated faster as well.

It’s promising stuff, and Google has also indicated that this feature could be coming to users by next year, with it already appearing in early Chrome Canary builds (which are used to test new and upcoming features).

Meanwhile, Microsoft has said that it is working on improving SegmentHeap to address the criticisms Google levelled at it.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.