This week, Google revealed that the fixes that it provides for Spectre CPU vulnerabilities have caused its Chrome browser to consume more memory space. According to the reports reaching us from our sources, there was a blog post in which Google notes down the details of its new Site Isolation feature for the latest Chrome 67 release. This is a feature that is at present enabled by default and it is used to provide protection against Spectre side-channel attacks that use the speculative execution features of processors that are common to gain access to parts of memory that are normally restricted. The only downside to the feature is that it has also increased the use of Chrome RAM.
Google software engineer, Charlie Reis conceded to the fact that, “Site Isolation does cause Chrome to create more renderer processes, which comes with performance tradeoffs. There is about a 10-13 percent total memory overhead in real workloads due to the larger number of processes.” This news will not be so easily accepted by Chrome users who time without number take note of the usage of RAM by the browser. If there is an increase by at least 10 percent, especially on computer systems that have 4GB RAM or less than that, it will prove to be totally helpful.
Because of this change that has been made, there will be an increase in the usage of memory by Chrome across Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS, however, Google is working to minimize the impact. Charlie Reis explains that, “Our team continues to work hard to optimize this behavior to keep Chrome both fast and secure.” Google has also for some time been optimizing Chrome after Microsoft in front of the general public called out the browser for being bad for the battery life of laptops.