Just about every Chrome user out there can probably relate when I say I have constant performance issues with Google’s browser. Once the bastion of simplicity and speed amongst other browsers Chrome has turned into a tank, slowing down at the first sign of a struggle or other media-heavy pages. Then there’s the problem of multiple tabs considerably slowing down the experience, especially on Chromebooks where the hardware itself isn’t nearly as beefy as your average PC or laptop might be. Many of these problems stem from extensions and how they run, namely that every extension you have enabled runs all the time. This can become particularly problematic when you’ve got a ton of extensions all running at once on hardware that’s just not built to handle it.
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Thankfully Google is responding to this issue and is offering a solution that’s a pretty darn good one. Instead of just automatically shutting down extensions that are hogging resources Google has now built the ability into Chrome to warn you if an extension is hogging a significant amount of resources vs what most extensions usually would. This will force developers of bloated extensions to create leaner, more efficient code than what they’ve been doing so as to avoid that horrible warning that their extension would quickly become associated with otherwise.
This is another effort among many by Google recently to further enhance the user experience of Chrome, one that has gotten worse over the last year rather than better for many. Last year we saw Google ban external extensions that weren’t found in the app store to enhance the security of Chrome and help reduce viruses that were coming in from some of these externally downloaded and installed extensions. Given how important extensions are for Chrome and how they seriously affect what a user can do and the overall usability of Chrome, both in terms of function and performance, it’s important for Google to grab this problem by the reins and reel it in before it gets out of control. Chromebooks have been a bastion for many who just need a light, portable and inexpensive tool to blog, send email and other fairly rudimentary Internet-related tasks and are easily one of Google’s biggest growing products.