Web browsers have become more and more critical to modern computing that for many users, they have practically become the operating system, an idea that Google turned into practice with Chrome OS. As such, there is always a need to make web browsers more and more optimized, in performance as well as power usage. As one of the major web browser makers, Google is always looking for ways to improve its performance, which has borne fruit in the latest version 53 and 54 of Chrome for Windows.
Chrome for Windows makes use of a feature called Profile-Guided Optimization or PGO, available from Microsoft’s compiler on Windows. In a nutshell, this method ensures that applications are built optimized for real-world use rather than theoretical use cases. Chrome’s nightly build gets run over and over again with automated tests. The “profiles” from these runs are fed to the PGO, which determines which parts of the code should be optimized because they most often used.
There are tradeoffs, of course. Most used sections of code, more often than not, become bigger with PGO. To balance this out, the less used sections of code are optimized for size instead, squeezing them down but also making access to them slower.
Although still one of the major browsers, no matter what OS, Google Chrome is experiencing renewed and more aggressive attacks by its rivals, particularly Microsoft Edge and Opera. The two’s recent salvo, however, focused on power savings rather than runtime performance. While the two disagreed who exactly is the best, they amusingly seem to concur that Chrome has the worst grade in that aspect.
Chrome’s sped up performance is already available in the 64-bit version of the browser since Chrome 53. The 32-bit version, on the other hand, got its boost in Chrome 54.