Google Uses Microsoft’s PGO Technology to Make Chrome 15% Faster on Windows

Rafia Shaikh
Posted Oct 31, 2016
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Google has been making some crucial changes to make its Chrome browser faster. A battle that was started by Microsoft boasting its Edge is faster than Google’s popular browser, Google isn’t stopping at making efforts to finally remove some of the browser’s biggest flaws. The company announced a new project last month that will help the browser use less memory than ever before. Now, with new optimizations, Chrome on Windows will load up to 15% faster.

Chrome now loads up 15% faster on Windows

This improvement in loading time is done by taking advantage of Microsoft’s Profile Guided Optimization (PGO). PGO measures how users interact with an application, using this data to re-compile an application with a focus on optimizing the most commonly used functions. PGO has another effective feature that helps in speeding up apps by keeping the often-used functions stored in the CPU’s fast instruction cache.

Google has also used Microsoft’s PGO technology to speed up Chrome’s startup time by 17%, page load time for 6% and new tab load time 15%.

To gather this data, the nightly build process now produces a special version of Chrome that tracks how often functions are used. PGO then optimizes those high-use functions for speed, in some cases increasing the binary size of those functions. To balance out that increase, PGO also optimizes less-used functions with smaller, though slightly slower code. These trade-offs result in higher overall performance, and a smaller overall code footprint.
PGO also optimizes the memory location of the code, moving rarely-used functions away from frequently-used ones in memory.  This results in more optimal use of the CPU instruction cache by avoiding caching of less-used code, increasing overall performance. There are many other tricks that PGO uses to make Chrome faster, and they add up to great results.

This technology has been available for 64-bit Windows systems since the release of the last version of Chrome. With Chrome 54, it will be available to everyone.

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“Chrome is a huge software project with more than a million functions in its source code,” Google’s Sebastien Marchand explained. “Not all functions are equal – some are called frequently, while others are rarely used. PGO uses data from runtime execution that track which functions are most common to guide optimization.”

For more details on how PGO works, visit today’s announcement. You can download the latest version of Chrome from Google.

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