Google’s Chrome browser is using more RAM than before. There’s a reason for which this is happening and unfortunately, there’s nothing that you can do to prevent this. Well, there is one thing – you could ditch Google’s browser and use something else or simply get more RAM.
The whole thing happens because Google had to put in place fixes for those Spectre vulnerabilities that were discovered at the beginning of the year.
It was a security issue with various chips that included Intel, AMD, and the one inside users’ laptops and desktops. These security issues really had to be fixed via software updates.
Spectre mitigation triggers the use of more RAM
Google explained in a blog post that Spectre mitigation is the thing that may lead to performance issues on your system:
“Site Isolation is a significant change to Chrome’s behavior under the hood, but it generally shouldn’t cause visible changes for most users or web developers (beyond a few known issues). It simply offers more protection between websites behind the scenes.”
The blog post also explains that “Site Isolation does cause Chrome to create more renderer processes, which comes with performance tradeoffs: on the plus side, each renderer process is smaller, shorter-lived, and has less contention internally, but there is about a 10-13% total memory overhead in real workloads due to the larger number of processes. Our team continues to work hard to optimize this behavior to keep Chrome both fast and secure.”
Less RAM increased security
According to Google, Site Isolation is now enabled for 99% of the users on Windows, Linux, Mac and Chrome OS.
The other 1% is held back as Google is monitoring performance.
The tech giant also explained that the purpose of the fix is to prevent an attacker from getting more data from the users. Both Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities could let hackers steal user data from systems without you even knowing it.
Google’s Site Isolation is preventing data from more sites to be loaded in the same process and this way if a malicious webpage triggers a Spectre attack the data in the other pages cannot be compromised.
This is great but what’s not great is that owners of older computers with less RAM may not be happy about this. Until Google finds a way to reduce RAM use, upgrading your RAM is a viable solution.