I’m sick of Chrome eating all my RAM – it's time for me to ditch it for Firefox… or even Edge

cartoon anger at PC
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

That’s it. I’ve had enough of Chrome. I, like the vast majority of internet users, have been using Google’s web browser for years now. Back when it launched almost exactly 11 years ago, Chrome promised a different, better way of browsing the web.

It convinced me to jump ship from Firefox, which I had found to be increasingly bloated and slow. Oh, what a difference a little over a decade makes! What was once a New Hope for browsing the web has now become the very thing it set out to defeat. It’s a turn to the dark side and a fall from grace that would make George Lucas proud (or at the very least hire a copyright lawyer).

These days, Chrome is just as bloated and resource-hungry as its competitors were. There’s a reason why Chrome’s lust for RAM has become such a popular meme on the internet (though Google is experimenting with a new feature to limit some of its memory-guzzling).

I’m lucky enough to have a PC that boasts 32GB of the stuff. Now, that amount of RAM is – to be honest – overkill for most things I use my PC for. However, after a few hours using Chrome, gigabytes will have been swallowed up by Google’s web browser.

Yes, I admit that my shoddy tab organisation is partly to blame here. Because of the nature of my job (and the ultra-wide aspect ratio of my monitor), my browser can end up the distressingly high number of open tabs.

Even so, Chrome’s resource intensive nature is unacceptable. And, while a growing number of available extensions has helped make Chrome a more useful – and versatile – piece of software, it has led to Chrome becoming far too bloated.

cartoon PC anger

Where has all my RAM gone? (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Losing features

Perhaps the final straw was the news this week that Google was dropping some useful features from Chrome. It made me question why I was putting up of Chrome. After all, I was spending an increasing amount of time complaining about it rather than just using the bloody thing.

So, what went wrong? To be honest, I’d argue that Chrome’s huge success has been its biggest downfall. The fact that it has such a huge slice of web browser market share has meant that Google has got a bit complacent. The company no longer has to work hard to convince people to try chrome. And because of that, I fear that the company has stopped innovating when it comes to Chrome.

Chrome’s huge success has been its biggest downfall

In fact, some of the times Google try something new with Chrome, it ends up annoying its users – such as when it cut off ‘www’ from URLs. And, the growing number of extensions available to install for Chrome has, as I mentioned earlier, resulted in a bloated and ungainly web browser. So, it’s time for a change.

What are my options?

So, what should a Chrome refugee do? Possibly the most obvious answer is to return, tail between legs, to Firefox. Whilst many of Google’s recent changes to Chrome have annoyed users, Mozilla’s changes to Firefox have been met with broadly positive reactions from its community. I’ve read a number of news stories concerning updates to Firefox, especially to do with privacy and security, that have made me seriously consider returning to the web browser.

Another option is – and I can’t quite believe I’m typing this – Edge. Usually, the only thing I use Microsoft’s default Windows 10 web browser for is to download Chrome.

Perhaps it’s a left over distaste for its predecessor, Internet Explorer, combined with  a lack of features and limited extension support, that made me never consider Edge as my daily web browser.

It seems like Microsoft might have made a worthy Chrome replacement

Plus, Microsoft’s increasingly desperate pleas to stick with Edge that pop up in Windows when you search for and download Chrome simply made me even more determined to stay away.

And yes, I am aware that by complaining that Chrome is too bloated thanks to me installing too many extensions, then deriding Edge because of its lack of extensions, it makes me a complete hypocrite. But isn’t that the job of a modern web browser? Give us what we want, but protect us from our stupidity?

However, now that Microsoft has made a version of Edge that runs on the Chromium browser (which Chrome runs on), it seems like Microsoft might have made a worthy Chrome replacement, which offers some of the base features and performance of Chrome (and, yes, extension support) without the baggage.

Cartoon of man using tablet

Have I been wrong about Edge? (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Having had a play around with the beta version of Chromium Edge, I’ve found there’s a lot to like. Switching is pretty easy – all my saved passwords from Chrome appear in the new version of Edge – and Microsoft has added some nice innovations to differentiate it from Google’s all-conquering browser, including much better tab organisation – something I desperately need.

So, perhaps I’ve found my Chrome alternative. Of course, in a few years I’m sure Chromium Edge will become just as bloated and frustrating as Chrome is right now, and I’ll be in search of a new web browser again. Maybe I’ll dig out an old floppy disk with Netscape Navigator on it, and the circle of life will be complete.

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. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.