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Chrome just got the biggest speed boost in years — and you can try it now

The Google Chrome logo displayed on a laptop screen.
(Image credit: monticello/Shutterstock)

The latest version of Google’s Chrome browser has just started rolling out and with it are some much needed upgrades. 

Not only is Chrome 91 23% faster, it promises to free up CPU and RAM resources by freezing collapsed Tab Groups. But as consequence it’s no longer possible to disable the tab grid view.

Chrome’s new-found speed comes from a pair of JavaScript additions; two compilers called Ignition and Turbofan. These both “fill the gap between needing to start executing quickly and optimizing the code for maximum performance.” 

In simple terms, that means a suite of optimisations to help Chrome better handle code when it starts up and to keep running fast under sustained use. 

But better still are the optimizations to reduce how CPU and RAM hungry Chrome can be. When you decide to collapse Tab Groups in Chrome to free-up browser and windows space, Chrome 91 will basically cut compute resources going to those tabs, freeing up power for use elsewhere. Cutting CPU and RAM demands can also help reduce the power drain on laptop batteries when away from an electrical socket.  

But the downside, as mentioned earlier, is you have to stick with Chrome's tab grid view. The grid layout and tab grouping is nothing new, as it was first rolled out to Chrome on Android back in January. Meanwhile freezing inactive tabs first appeared in Chrome 89, and just last month an update means it could offer up to a 35% reduction in CPU usage. Chrome 91 builds upon all of that. 

But that’s not all Chrome 91 has to offer. Forms have been revamped to offer a more modern look, and don’t feels as though they were pulled straight out of Windows XP. Likewise web apps can now read files in the clipboard, letting you copy and paste files into whatever it is you’re using the web app for. Chrome’s password manager will also recognise sites that use the same log-in system across multiple domains, and auto-fill the page.

Those are all small updates, but they so add up. Not only does it mean Chrome 91 is much more convenient and nicer to look at, depriving Chrome of the opportunity to hog your system’s resources is always a good thing. 

  • VoleUndermined_82
    I ditched Chrome a while back in favor of Firefox, cause I read up on its privacy benefits, but I gotta say, whenever I have to fire up Chrome, either for work or because Firefox addons break a site, it does strike me just how fast it is. The launch is nearly instantaneous, the loading times quick as a fox (pun unintended.)
    Reply
  • Yazzoo7
    VoleUndermined_82 said:
    I ditched Chrome a while back in favor of Firefox, cause I read up on its privacy benefits, but I gotta say, whenever I have to fire up Chrome, either for work or because Firefox addons break a site, it does strike me just how fast it is. The launch is nearly instantaneous, the loading times quick as a fox (pun unintended.)
    I, too, ditched Chrome for Firefox, years ago. Until Chrome listens to its users and comes up with a way to open links and search results in a new, focused tab without having to install an addon or having to use additional keystrokes, Firefox will be my browser of choice. I also like that I am able to tweak Firefox to perform in a manner that best suits my browsing needs.

    With regard to Chrome launching quickly, that may be because you have it always running in the background. Check your system tray. You may see a Chrome icon there, even though you don't actually have Chrome open.
    Reply