Google Chrome is, without a doubt, the king of all browsers. It has quite literally devoured Microsoft’s Edge browser and all other web browsers are dwarfed by its insane market share. Google Chrome isn’t perfect though, and one of its biggest problems is just how much memory it needs to function properly. Unless you’re working on a top-of-the-line machine with plenty of RAM to spare, opening more than just a few tabs will slow everything down to a crawl.
This RAM problem has long been recognized by Google as an issue that needs fixing and it looks like we could soon see a solution to the problem.
An experimental new feature could cut Chrome RAM usage significantly
The new feature has been spotted in Google’s experimental Chrome Canary browser. Canary is a free-to-use browser that Google has long used to test out new Chrome features and this latest is an absolute doozy. Called “skip best effort tasks” the feature could finally see users not have to worry about how many tabs they have open, if they want their PC to work as it should.
Skip best effort tasks works by delaying many of the low priority tasks Chrome usually runs until you shut it down. Rather than these tasks running continuously in the background while you browse, they are only carried out when you hit close after you’ve finished whatever it was, you were doing on the internet.
Low priority tasks include things like writing user data to the disk, telemetry, and cache cleaning. The new feature will take these drab-sounding yet necessary tasks, and a whole host of others like them, and hold them until Chrome is shut down. Individually, these tasks might not need much RAM, but if you add them all up and then multiply across all the Chrome tabs you generally have open, they quickly become a problem.
Describing the new feature, Google says, “With this flag on, tasks of the lowest priority will not be executed until shutdown. The queue of low-priority tasks can increase memory usage. Also, while it should be possible to use Chrome almost normally with this flag, it is expected that some non-visible operations such as writing user data to disk, cleaning caches, reporting metrics or updating components won’t be performed until shutdown.”
How to try “skip best effort tasks”
As this feature is still in the experimental stage there is no saying when, or even if, it will come to the version of Google Chrome used by 65% of all web users. If you’d like to give the feature a try in the meantime, however, you can do so by downloading Google Chrome Canary below. The feature isn’t active by default though, so once you’ve installed and opened the experimental browser, you’ll have to type chrome://flags/#disable-best-effort-tasks in the address bar and tap enter to open up the Skip best effort tasks menu.