A new feature in Microsoft’s May 2020 Windows update will allow Google to make substantial reductions to the amount of RAM that Chrome uses.
Microsoft has added a feature called SegmentHeap which reduces the memory usage of Win32 applications such as web browsers.
The feature replaces the legacy heap technology and has been made available for developers to use in their applications.
Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge browser already uses this new feature and the company said it has seen a reduction in memory usage of up to 27%.
“Our goal on the Microsoft Edge team is to deliver the best performing browser possible on Windows and other platforms,” said Microsoft.
“When a browser uses too much memory, it can slow down the whole system; memory, in general, is a critical resource to keeping any device running smoothly.”
Chrome to use SegmentHeap
Google plans to follow in the Edge browser’s footsteps and use SegmentHeap to reduce its memory usage.
A Google Chrome engineer said they expect the new feature to result in significant benefits for users.
“Experiments with per-machine opting-in to the segment heap for chrome.exe suggests that this could save hundreds of MB in the browser and Network Service utility processes, among others, on some machines,” said Google.
Google added that while real-world results will vary, everyone should experience significant benefits from this change – the biggest of which will be found on multi-core computers.
The feature is not yet available for Google Chrome, however.
The Google engineer said that the company still needs to solve build issues before the release version of Chrome can use this new feature.
“We could enable it now but that would cause build warnings. Therefore enabling it is blocked on a switch to the Windows 10.0.19041.0 SDK which is currently blocked on some mysterious build failures,” said Google.