Google Chrome 87 brings performance improvements and tab searching

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We’re just weeks away from a brand new year, but Google isn’t going on holiday just yet. The search giant on Tuesday introduced one final update for Chrome, which promises major performance improvements and changes to tabs.

Thanks to under-the-hood improvements, Google said Chrome 87 “represents the largest gain in Chrome performance in years.” That includes starting up 25 percent faster and loading pages 7 percent faster — all while using less power and less RAM. And that’s just the start.

Google has also prioritized how Chrome 87 handles tabs. The browser now prioritizes active tabs versus everything that’s open, which Google said will reduce CPU usage by up to 5x and extend battery up to 1.25 hours. Google this summer started testing throttling background JavaScript timers to improve battery life, and the company’s work has resulted in marked improvements, at least in internal testing.

 

Speaking of tabs, Chrome 87 now includes a tab search feature. It’s the same kind of search you’ve grown accustomed to across your favorite applications. When you click on search in Chrome 87’s toolbox, you’ll see a list of your open tabs. Start typing in a word and you should find the result you need. Google said tab search will be available on Chromebooks first, and on other desktop platforms soon.

Other performance improvements include implementing a back/forward cache. Google said that people often visit a page and quickly hit the back button. With Chrome 87, the use of a back/forward cache will make 20 percent of those backward/forward navigations instant, with plans to improve that to 50 percent in the future. The feature was originally introduced in Chrome 86 as a flag, but now it’s on by default in Chrome 87 for desktop and Android.

Finally, Chrome 87 features a couple of quality of life improvements, from a more powerful omnibox to cards in your new tab page. In the omnibox, you can type in actions like “edit passwords” or “delete history,” so you don’t have to jump into menus and find the relevant setting. As for the cards in the new tab page, Google said these will be for links you recently-visited. For now, the cards will focus on things like cooking and shopping, with plans for entertainment cards in the future.

All the new features are rolling out in Chrome 87 over the next few weeks.

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