back to article Chrome lives in dog years: It's seven years old but just turned 50

Google's Chrome browser has reached its 50th release. The browser debuted on September 1st, 2008, complete with a comic book to explain its then-novel approach of giving each Tab its own process. Isolating each Tab made the browser more resilient by allowing a poorly-coded Web app to take down just one process, rather than the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Application tabs still there

    They've been hidden away somewhat, but what I think you're referring to is still there. Menu->More tools->Add to desktop..., check Open as window, and there you have it - a clickable shortcut that opens in a window without any chrome.

  2. Google

    Those damn poorly coded sites

    "...Isolating each Tab made the browser more resilient by allowing a poorly-coded Web app to take down just one process, rather than the whole browser."

    If a site can take down the browser, is it the site (nee, Web app) that is poorly coded or the browser?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Those damn poorly coded sites

      Depends on the HTML. Historically websites served up lots of incorrect HTML and browsers developed all kinds of workarounds so that you would at least see something rather than rejecting everything that couldn't be validated. The workarounds add complexity and thus vulnerability. Add to this Javascript which could have a routine that uses up all the memory. But the plugin architecture is probably the biggest vulnerability for browsers and where Google has done the most work: isolated processes and a better plugin API where they're still needed, while working on "native" HTML5 features to render plugins largely irrelevant.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Those damn poorly coded sites

      I take it you're using the definition of "poorly coded" that means "has greater than zero bugs"?

  3. David Roberts

    Isolating each tab

    Lets Chrome hoover up vast amounts of RAM very quickly.

    1. joeW Silver badge

      Re: Isolating each tab

      I think that's more the fault of what Chrome is loading into those tabs.

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Isolating each tab

        >what Chrome is loading into those tabs

        dumb question, but what is eating so much RAM on browsers?

        If I quit Firefox and just reopen this article's main page, I am @ 450MB on a Mac already. Sure, you can blame FF for being a hog (I do), but start tallying up Chrome processes and...*

        10-15 years ago, we had javascript and css and machines did not have 8GB RAM to play with. Is this the ultimate case of software siphoning off hardware gains as they come?

        The text representation of an html page, including all its css and js can't account for much. You need to add the DOM tree, which I assume is a complex linked tree of some sorts. You add actual video mapping data for the display. CSS-to-dom-to-video tracking memory constructs. But still, many other apps are complex and not such huge hogs as browsers. Is this cached stuff, just in case you need to go back to a tab?

        *Btw, being cynical, for Chrome this is probably a not-insignificant benefit of splitting into processes - hides RAM use somewhat.

        1. Vic

          Re: Isolating each tab

          dumb question, but what is eating so much RAM on browsers?

          Well, the leak that's been hammering my machine this afternoon has been Google's own plusone.js. I kill that script and regain 1GB...

          FSM only knows why a script need to gobble a gig just to give me the abillity to praise something in the exceptionally-well used Google+.


  4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Re: Alt + tab

    I usually have one open at work most days for the chat tool that sites on our site (it at least lets me know the next contact email is an Indian spammer or not), so it's not been killed, it's just not as obvious any more (though going on past records from Google I give it another 2-3 versions before they kill it much to the protest of anyone who remotely cares).

    I think you need to set the site as a 'Chrome app' and sit it in the app launcher for it to work for you.

  5. Martin Summers Silver badge

    I just got rid of the over bloated crap from my Nexus 6 (irony) as it used so much memory it caused the whole phone to be unstable. Switching to Firefox I have no problems now and my phone doesn't randomly reboot either. I do however have Chrome as my browser of choice on desktop PC's whereas I wouldn't touch Firefox for that.

    1. John Presland

      Whereas I use Firefox on PCs, because I can mod it with addons to suit my needs, but Chrome on my phone since FF falls over too often.

  6. Test Man

    Application shortcuts haven't been binned - I still use it to launch my work e-mail and calendar in windows without any other browser furniture.

  7. Kaltern


    Wow take a look at the comments from back then - the amount of skepticism that was shows was bordering on paranoia.

    Either people were REALLY overreacting... or Google failed to earn any trust back then.

    And nothing's changed.

  8. Youngdog

    Another one of Chrome's big advantages was its ability to run from a Windows user's profile without install with admin rights - much to the chagrin of sys admins everywhere. I think we found over a dozen different releases scattered about on one scan

  9. Notional Semidestructor

    Works well on Flash sites, but...

    Despite the convenience of baked-in Flash (can be handy in a Linux environment) we still have not moved to Chrome full time - other than on a couple of Chromebooks.

    These we find handy for simple stuff, bits of browsing mostly - ideal for the TV guide and quick Wikipedia forays when settling arguments.

    Dropping the 32-bit flavour of Chrome for Linux excludes it from a good number of machines in our posse.

    Dog years, heh!

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