Chrome for Mac and Android now significantly faster, according to Google

Google has made under-the-hood improvements to its Chrome browser, leading to a 10% increase on Apple’s Speedometer 2.1 browser benchmark across Mac and Android platforms. The changes include improved caching and better memory management. Chrome still holds the majority of the global market share with 64.8%, followed by Safari at 19.5%, despite user concerns about its slowness. Google implemented targeted improvements in JavaScript and CSS functions, along with more efficient pointer compression and memory management techniques. Some of the improvements will also benefit WebKit, the browser engine used in Safari.

Google’s Chrome browser has undergone several under-the-hood improvements that have led to a significant performance increase on both Mac and Android platforms. Google announced in a news release that a series of tweaks have resulted in a 10% increase on Apple’s Speedometer 2.1 browser benchmark over three months.
Some of the changes made to the browser include improved caching and better memory management. These improvements have contributed to the overall speed boost. Google acknowledges that not all users may be interested in the technical details surrounding how the speed improvements were achieved. However, many users will be pleased to have a faster browsing experience.

Despite user complaints about the sluggishness of the Chrome browser over the years, it still has a significant market share. According to Statcounter’s March 2023 statistics, Chrome has 64.8% of the global market share, while Safari, its closest rival, has only 19.5% across all platforms. Chrome’s market share on desktops is considerably greater, at 65.8%, followed by Edge (11.12) and Safari (10.11%).

In a blog post, Google explained the specific tweaks it made to achieve the new milestone. The company found targeted optimizations for the highly-used JS “Object.prototype.toString” and “Array.prototype.join” functions. Google also implemented targeted improvements in CSS’s InterpolableColor. The company noted that “innerHTML” is a common way of updating the DOM via JavaScript, so it introduced specialized fast paths for parsing.

Additionally, the improvements involved more efficient pointer compression and better memory management techniques. This impacted operations that take place frequently, resulting in a more widespread performance boost. The post also talks about the relocation of frequently accessed objects, such as JavaScript’s “undefined,” to the beginning of the memory bases, where they can be accessed with faster machine code.

One of Google’s updates will benefit WebKit, the Apple-developed browser engine used in Safari. This will be incorporated into the engine, so more web browser users in addition to Chrome users will gain from these advancements.

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