​Google Chrome soon won't be such a burden on your computer

New version of the browser won't take up as much memory, especially on mobile devices, Google programmers promise.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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  • Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
Stephen Shankland
One Chrome component uses 40 percent less memory ​on sites like Imgur, Twitter and Reddit.
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One Chrome component uses 40 percent less memory ​on sites like Imgur, Twitter and Reddit.

One Chrome component uses 40 percent less memory on sites like Imgur, Twitter and Reddit.


A version of Chrome due in a two months will give your PC or phone back some of that precious memory it's been gobbling up.

Memory is a scarce resource in computing devices, making apps run faster and letting them do more. As websites get more complex and web browsers get more powerful, though, they gobble up more and more memory.

Memory usage reductions are great. But don't expect that your hardware will be suddenly liberated. Historically, as PCs and phones steadily got more memory, programmers writing apps and websites added new features to take advantage of it.

The Chrome team working on V8, the part of the browser that runs the JavaScript programs that make websites tick, "significantly reduced the memory footprint" of websites like Imgur, Reddit , Twitter and The New York Times. The changes come in Chrome 55, due in December.

How much? One aspect called heap memory dropped 50 percent on average; another called zone memory dropped 40 percent. More optimization is in the works especially for lower-end devices with less than a gigabyte of memory.