Google Chrome just got a huge speed upgrade — and you can try it now

Google Chrome
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Update: Chrome for Android may be getting an important upgrade too, with the latest Canary build revealing a dialogue box that confirms whether you want to shut down all your tabs.

Chrome is still the most popular web browser on the internet, and Google's developers are not slowing down, especially in the face of increased competition from Microsoft's Edge and Mozilla's Firefox. For Chrome users that were thinking of switching, Chrome is about to get a little speedier and become a lot less memory hungry.

In a Chromium blog post, Yana Yushkina, product manager for Chrome browser, unveiled an increase in search speed when searching via the omnibox. For those that are unaware, the omnibox is the bar at the top of the Chrome browser for typing in website addresses and search queries. She also detailed that Chrome would also use less memory and that the team has solved an issue regarding a common shutdown bug. 

"Searching in Chrome is now even faster, as search results are prefetched if a suggested query is very likely to be selected," said Yushkina. "This means that you see the search results more quickly, as they’ve been fetched from the web server before you even select the query."

According to Yushkina, search results will appear in less than 500 milliseconds. 

This will only work if users set Google Search as the default search engine. Although, it will be possible for other search developers to integrate this speedy feature, like for those who prefer Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo. 

Apart from speedier omnibox searches, and a new update that will help online shoppers, Chrome will also use less memory. 

"Chrome OS shows a total memory footprint reduction of 15% in addition to a 20% browser process memory reduction, improving the Chromebook browsing experience for both single and multi-tabs," said Yushkina. 

Lastly, Yushkina detailed a common shutdown hang and how the team solved it. Essentially, years ago the Chrome dev team added a local cache that would help the browser start up faster. The team has since discovered that this added increased complexity on certain operating systems, eating up more memory and causing shutdowns. It also did very little to increase speed. The Chrome dev team has gone ahead and removed the cache, resolving a top shutdown hang. 

"This was a great illustration of the principle that caching is not always the answer!" said Yushkina.

Imad Khan

Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.