When Google Chrome was first released, it was hands down the fastest browser on the web. Nothing else even came close. Over time, other, competing browsers began to catch up, speed-wise. In fact, recently, when Microsoft released Edge, their new offering that replaced the beleaguered Internet Explorer, the new browser actually clocked in as being faster than Chrome.
Not willing to go quietly, Google has been responding. Recently, they released version 45 of Chrome, and have been adding new features at a blistering pace to continue upping their game. There are lots of big changes under the hood of the new browser, but the two most significant ones are these:
First, a long-standing memory hogging issue has been resolved. Now, with the new version of Chrome, when pages go idle, Chrome will ruthlessly wipe out old, unused memory. This problem has been a pet peeve among laptop users, because until this change was implemented, Chrome had the tendency to dramatically shorten battery life, so that’s huge.
Second, Google has created a new compression algorithm that promises to compress webpages by an additional 26%, which will give the browser a corresponding increase in speed. Interestingly, and in an eyebrow raising move, rather than keep the algorithm locked up in the code, they made it open source, so that anyone could take it and apply it to any other browser out there.
The core thinking behind the move wasn’t to give away a strategic advantage, but rather, to get lots of really smart people looking at it, tweaking it and improving it, such that browser speeds will grow over time for everyone. At first glance, Google’s move may seem counterproductive, but the reality is, their entire business is online. The more people who can connect more quickly, the better for them. There’s a lot to be said for that, and kudos to Google for the bold move.