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Google is testing a new feature that speeds up the Chrome browser – here’s how to get it now

Published Feb 19th, 2019 8:17AM EST
How To Speed Up Google Chrome Browser
Image: Valentin Wolf/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

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With nearly 65% of the global market according to market share monitor Net applications, Google’s Chrome web browser is by far the most widely used desktop browser on the planet. It’s not even close. In fact, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is in the #2 spot and it has less than 11% of the global market. People love Chrome, and that’s understandable considering its many advantages over other web browsers. On top of that, Chrome for the most part adheres to the same minimalistic principles that helped make Google’s web browser so popular. For the most part, Chrome is fast and smooth, and it doesn’t hurt that it syncs all of your data across multiple devices with ease, so you can enjoy the same familiar experience on any device, desktop or mobile. Of course nothing is perfect, however, and Chrome does have a few issues that tend to drive people crazy.

For one thing, Chrome can often be a memory hog. This is especially true if you tend to leave multiple tabs open in the background. As I type up this very article, Chrome is using about 5GB of RAM on my computer while the next closest app is taking up less than 500MB. That’s exactly why we recently showed you an awesome free Chrome extension that can drastically reduce the browser’s load with a single click. When Chrome uses up fewer resources, the browser itself is faster and there are also system-wide benefits such as better battery life on a laptop. If you’re looking for more ways to speed up Chrome and help make it less of a RAM hog, Google is working on a new feature that will likely be baked right into Chrome in the near future. If you want, however, you can actually start using it right now.

We’ve covered Chrome Canary before here on the site, but we’ll give you a quick refresher: it’s the “experimental” version of Google’s Chrome web browser where the company tests out new features in an effort to get them ready for wider distribution in its main Chrome apps. Chrome Canary is free for anyone to use, and it can be downloaded from this Google site.

As noticed recently by Ghacks, Google added a new test feature to Chrome Canary that is intended to help speed up the browser a bit and reduce memory use. The feature is called “Skip best effort tasks,” and it’s really quite simple. In a nutshell, this new experimental feature stops Chrome from performing several low priority tasks while the browser is in use. These tasks may be low priority but they still need to be executed eventually, so this feature allows Chrome to handle them just before shutdown.

Here’s the full description of the feature, as it appears in Chrome Canary:

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.

You have access to this nifty new feature if you’re running the latest Canary build, but it’s not enabled by default. As Ghacks explains, however, enabling it is beyond easy. Simply type chrome://flags/#disable-best-effort-tasks in Canary’s address bar and hit enter, and you’ll open a settings page with the “Skip best effort tasks” flag right at the top. Click the drop down menu next to the feature and select “Enabled,” then restart Chrome Canary and you’re good to go.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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