Google Chrome may have started out small and lean, but it's been putting on some weight lately. Granted, most of that came with the addition of new useful features, but it's becoming a bit unwieldy.
In fact, Chrome can't really claim the crown as the lightest browser, in terms of memory usage, around, Firefox's been getting some big improvements in that department.
With that in mind, the Chrome team has started working on ways of improving memory usage.
One big memory hog are extensions, the more you add, the more memory you use up. Many extensions though don't really do anything most of the time, they just sit there eating up your RAM.
Not anymore though, Chrome is moving to a new model where extensions are only running, and therefore using memory, when they need to and are otherwise unloaded from memory.
"Over the last several months, we've been working on a new feature for the extension system called Event Pages that we think will help reduce the memory used by these idle extensions," Google's Matt Perry, a software developer at the company, wrote.
"Event pages are an evolution of background pages, with one major improvement: rather than running in the background all the time, an event page only runs when it is handling events. Once an event page becomes idle, it is unloaded, freeing memory until the next time it’s needed," he added
Not all extensions will benefit from this, some do need to be running all the time, but many will. And it will mean Chrome will be using up less memory and even less CPU. Event pages are a feature in Chrome 21, currently in the dev channel.
Of course, modern PCs don't really suffer from a lack of memory, especially with the prices of RAM memory being what they are.
But Chrome needs to be running on Chromebooks, which are at the low end, on Google TV devices and even on mobile phones (granted without extensions as of yet). What's more, on any computer, an app that uses less memory is snappier since it doesn't have to manage all that memory all the time.