Final Chrome Release of 2020 Brings the “Largest Performance Gain in Years”

Rafia Shaikh
move multiple chrome tabs

Google has today released Chrome 87, bringing a faster than ever before browsing experience. "This month's update represents the largest gain in Chrome performance in years, thanks to many under-the-hood improvements," the browser maker claims. One of these improvements includes reducing CPU usage by up to 5x and extending battery life by up to 1.25 hours by prioritizing active tabs over everything else.

"Even if you have a lot of tabs open, you likely only focus on a small set of them to get a task done," Mark Chang, Chrome Product Manager, explains. "Starting in this release, Chrome is actively managing your computer’s resources to make the tabs you care about fast - while allowing you to keep hundreds of tabs open - so you can pick up where you left off."

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We’ve made significant improvements by preventing background tabs from waking up your CPU too often, and no longer rendering tabs that you can’t see.

The company is using tab throttling, occlusion tracking, and back/forward caching to help Chrome manage computer resources more efficiently. Occlusion tracking (previously added to Chrome OS and Mac and is now coming to Windows) enables the browser to know which windows and tabs are visible to you. "With this information, Chrome can optimize resources for the tabs you are using, not the ones you’ve minimized, making Chrome up to 25% faster to start up and 7% faster to load pages, all while using less memory," Chang added.

Chrome will now also throttle JavaScript timer wake-ups in background tabs to once per minute to reduce their impact.

Everything improved coming with Chrome 87

Faster to start, faster to load, and way more battery life

This month's update represents the largest gain in Chrome performance in years, thanks to many under-the-hood improvements. Here’s what’s starting to roll out today:

  • Chrome now prioritizes your active tabs vs. everything that’s open—reducing CPU usage by up to 5x and extending battery life by up to 1.25 hours (based on our internal benchmarks).
  • Chrome now starts up to 25 percent faster, loads pages up to 7 percent faster, and does all of this using less power and RAM than before.
  • Chrome on Android now loads pages near instantaneously when you navigate backward and forward, making these common tasks super fast.

Tabs: pin ‘em, group ‘em, and now search ‘em

Many people use tabs to organize their stuff online—from read-worthy articles, to sources of inspiration, to everyday to-do’s. This range of utility is why you can pin tabs (for those go-to pages), send tabs to your other devices and even group tabs in Chrome. This month we're adding tab search to the toolbox.

You’ll now be able to see a list of your open tabs—regardless of the window they’re in—then quickly type to find the one you need. It’s search … for your tabs! The feature is coming first to Chromebooks, then to other desktop platforms soon.

google chrome 87

Even if you have multiple Chrome windows, you can find a tab no matter which window it’s in.

Taking action directly from the address bar

The address bar is one of those multi-sport athletes in Chrome: you can type a search, a URL, or just tap on a suggestion, and it gets you where you’d like to go. In fact, we call it the "omnibox" inside of Google (#TheMoreYouKnow).

In this release, we’re expanding what you can do in the address bar with Chrome Actions—a faster way to get things done with just a few keystrokes. For example: when you type “edit passwords,” or “delete history,” you can now take action directly from the bar. Our first set of actions—available initially on desktop—focuses on privacy and security, so you can increase your peace of mind in a few clicks.

Our first set of Chrome Actions makes managing your privacy and security settings even easier.

A way to pick up where you left off

You know when you find that delicious recipe online, then you can't find it again when it’s time to cook dinner? We’ve heard similar stories from lots of people, for lots of different scenarios.

To help you jump back into activities like planning a meal, researching a holiday gift, or winding down with a video, we'll soon add cards to your new tab page in Chrome. Clicking on them will take you to recently-visited and related content on the web, and save you time in the process.

chrome 87

Cards in Chrome will help you pick up where you left off. They include recently-visited and related content, and they'll start showing up for some users on the new tab page, underneath the shortcuts.

Chrome for macOS is also getting a bigger icon to better fit the latest Big Sur release. The update begins rolling out today for all platforms. For more details, head over to the official blog post.

- New feature alert: How to get scrollable tabs 

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