What are they thinking? That's the question that ran through my mind as I pored over the latest Chrome 3.0 beta test data from the exo.performance.network site. It seems that the folks from Mountain View aren't content with securing a privileged spot on your desktop. They want to steal all of your PC's RAM, too.
At least that's how I'm interpreting these latest numbers. In a follow-up to an earlier post documenting the RAM footprint of the second Internet Explorer 8 beta, the xpnet.com research staff has re-created its original test scenario in an effort to revalidate their data points against the shipping versions of IE 8.0, Chrome 2.0, and Firefox 3.5.
But while the data for these shipping browsers is interesting -- IE 8.0 is still a bloated pig, while Chrome 2.0 is better behaved and Firefox is as skinny as ever -- the really juicy stuff involves the current beta release of Chrome 3.0. It seems that Google's browser-cum-OS project is getting hungrier. The latest build gobbles up over a half-gigabyte of RAM while rendering a selection of popular media and technology Web sites.
That's three times as much memory as Firefox uses to render these same sites -- and it's 50 percent more than either Chrome 2.0 or IE 8.0 consumed during the same test. Note also that this isn't some kind of artificial torture test. The xpnet.com folks simply had the browsers open up a series of Web sites (including InfoWorld), with each site loaded into its own tab -- in other words, the same things users do every day.
To be fair, Chrome 3.0 is still very much in beta. By all accounts, Google is using this new release as a test platform for evaluating many of technologies that will eventually make their way into the Chrome OS. This includes the expanded use of core technologies like Native Client and Google Gears, as well as the introduction of a new plug-in architecture. With all of this new stuff floating around, there's bound to be some code bloat, especially in an early beta release.