Chrome May Eat Less of Your Memory When This New Feature Rolls Out

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When Google Chrome was lightweight and fast when it debuted in 2008, a refreshing change of pace in a world still dominated by Internet Explorer. Things sure have changed. Today, Chrome has a meme-worthy reputation for greedily gobbling up memory, but some new features will make it more efficient. Google has announced Memory Saver and Battery Saver, both of which are rolling out soon.

Admittedly, the way many of us use the web is a contributing factor to Chrome’s RAM habit — rather than close tabs we might theoretically need in the future, we leave them open. Keeping dozens of tabs alive can cause Chrome to balloon to occupy gigabytes of memory. Google says that Memory Saver can reduce Chrome’s memory usage by up to 10GB or 40 percent.

Memory Saver won’t be enabled by default because it does change how the browser works. When you leave tabs in the background, Chrome will boot them out of memory to save system resources. When you switch back, Chrome will remind you that Memory Saver is enabled, and therefore you’ve saved some amount of memory. This message will soften the blow as the page reloads, clearing the tab state. There is an option to mark certain sites as “always available” so they will not be dropped from memory when you leave them in the background.

The popup will remind you that Memory Saver is enabled.

The other new feature is enabled by default, but you won’t notice it unless you push your laptop to the limit. Energy Saver will activate automatically when your computer reaches 20 percent battery. In this mode, Chrome will limit background activity and disable some visual effects and animations to save power. You can, however, deactivate this feature if you want to burn through that last 20 percent faster with all the bells and whistles.

Google says these features will roll out in the coming weeks — we aren’t seeing it in the stable or beta channels of Chrome. However, Ars Technica says it’s available in the latest Canary and Nightly builds. You can check the Memory Saver and Battery Saver there if you just can’t wait. When available, these features will work on the desktop version of Chrome on Windows, macOS, and ChromeOS.

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