An app developer was so tired of dealing with RAM hungry Chrome, that he developed an app for Mac to deal with the problem. Called Flotato (opens in new tab), the app takes Chrome tabs and turn it into lightweight app windows.
With Flotato, the sites you're using are transformed into web browsers that serve a single app each. You can open a Flotato window for the web version of Twitter, for instance, and that’s all that app will run.
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Flotato's lead developer Morten Just laid out his use case for the intriguing app in a blog post (opens in new tab). He initially noticed something was wrong from the constant loud fan noise from his Mac when browsing Chrome.
After developing the app, he ended up testing several tabs on sites like Twitter and Gmail to see how Flotato could reduce the average RAM in use with Chrome and Safari. On average, using Twitter in a single tab required a taxing 730 MB of memory, while Safari needed 73 MB. Flotato undercut both with just 63 MB.
In another session, Just opened Twitter and Gmail in Safari, reaching nearly 80 MB of RAM and CPU usage. Flotato was able to reduce that total by about 10MB while running Twitter for mobile. Impressively, in another massive test, Just ran a 54-tab stress test on his Mac. Chrome required 290 MB, while Safari needed 12 MB. These tests tell a story that's all too familiar.
Using Chrome for a variety of tasks will often result in RAM use skyrocketing. As Just notes in his test, Chrome still works to manage its memory usage to keep performance high. Safari, on the other hand, doesn't consume as much RAM, so the Mac's fans rarely need to spin wildly to keep up.
Chrome will slow down when inundated with tabs due its high memory usage. With high CPU and RAM usage, your entire computer's performance begins to suffer. And, if you're like Just, you may just be unable to hear your podcast over your fans.
That's where Flotato comes in. If you're routinely using Chrome or another browser that produces the same results, it could save you some time and frustration.
When you decide you want to spawn a new browser with it, Flotato will set an appropriate icon to help keep track. You can even choose a live image of the website if you want to keep an eye on changes.
Using Mac's WebKit, Flotato then allows you to have all of your "apps" running with significantly less RAM usage. There's no plugins, browser renderer, or other additions on top of Flotato that need memory to run. .
Flotato is free for use with a few different apps. If you need additional tabs, it costs $14.99 for a pro version with unlimited app support.