Google Chrome is already rather infamous for eating up a lot of RAM. Last year, we saw Google begin to take steps to tackle the issue, but thanks to Spectre, those efforts are now in-vain. This week, Google announced that Chrome would be getting a Site Isolation feature, which will protect against Spectre at the cost of using up extra resources.
Site Isolation was revealed via the Chrome blog. The feature will see Chrome use up more renderer processes, which in turn comes with a performance trade-off. Google says that there is somewhere between a 10 and 13 percent memory overhead in real life workloads due to the higher number of processes.
Site Isolation is being introduced to add protection against the Spectre vulnerability that made waves at the start of 2018. Months later, additional patches and protections are still being implemented to ensure Spectre won’t become an easily exploitable, widespread issue. With Site Isolation, Chrome will mitigate the threat by presenting data from multiple websites being loaded into the same process. This way, if a website does trigger a Spectre attack, other open web pages won’t be affected.
Site Isolation has now been rolled out to 99% of users on Windows, MacOS, Linux, and ChromeOS. The remaining 1% is so Google can monitor and improve performance.
KitGuru Says: Whilst the added security is a good thing, Chrome users with low-power machines may find the experience to be a lot worse. How has this update affected your Chrome usage?