Google Chrome is apparently the fastest macOS web browser ever made

Google is constantly working to improve the speed of its browser and it appears these efforts have paid off as Google Chrome recently achieved the highest score yet on Apple's Speedometer 2.0 benchmark.

Since the launch of Chrome back in 2008, the search giant has set out to build the fastest browser regardless of whether you're using it on a smartphone or laptop.

In order to measure the speed of its browser, Google uses a combination of internal benchmarking infrastructure and public, industry-standard benchmarks. When it comes to comparing JavaScript performance in browsers, Apple's Speedometer 2.0 benchmark is the most broadly used tool today as it provides an accurate depiction of real world testing.

Since 2015, Google has been measuring Chrome's Speedometer scores on a 13-inch MacBook. While the browser's performance improved on Intel-based Macs, the release of Apple's M1 chips in 2020 have led to a huge performance increase.

Improving Chrome's performance

In a new blog post, Google explained that the projects it has worked on over the years have made a significant improvement to Chrome's performance. However, this wasn't the case with all of them.

For instance, with pointer compression the company was willing to take a small performance hit in order for Chrome to use less memory. This was also the case when the Spectre CPU exploit hit and Google had to trade performance to guarantee the safety of its users.

All in all, years of work on projects like fast C++ lookups, thin strings, revamping parser and more have led to an 83 percent improvement in Chrome's Speedometer score. Still though, it was the combination of Apple's introduction of the M1 CPU with Google's Sparkplug and LTO+PGO projects that helped Chrome rocket to the top of the Speedometer scores. Chrome now scores over 300 on Speedometer and this is the highest score any browser has ever achieved.

These scores will likely continue to improve as Google develops its browser further and Apple's new M1 Ultra chip will also give Chrome another big performance boost on macOS.

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Chrome on Mac is apparently now faster than Safari

Google has announced that the latest version of its Chrome browser is faster than ever for Mac users.

The company says that its new Chrome M99 release for Mac has achieved greater speeds than ever before as it looks to streak ahead of its rivals.

A raft of improvements and optimizations now means that Chrome is 7% faster than the current builds of Safari, the company claims, alongside a 15% difference in graphics performance.

Chrome vs Safari

Among the changes to Chrome is ThinLTO, a build optimization technique that inlines speed-critical parts of the code base, even when they span multiple files or libraries.

When it comes to graphics performance, Google highlighted the effect of pass-through decoder and out-of-process rasterization technologies in giving Chrome a boost.

It also mentioned the use of Sparkplug, a new JavaScript compiler that offers a particular boost for Apple M1-based Macs thanks to its ability to generate efficient code with low compilation overhead, and short builtin calls, which are used by JavaScript  to optimize the placement of generated code inside the device’s memory.

Overall, Google says the cumulative effect of all these changes is that Chrome is now 43% faster than it was when it was first launched on M1-based Macs in late 2020.

“We go deep on every platform where Chrome runs to provide the fastest possible experience,” Google's Max Christoff, Senior Director, Chrome Engineering, said in a blog post announcing the news. 

“Every day, billions of people around the world turn to Chrome to get things done quickly on their devices, whether shopping for a new pair of headphones or pulling together a sales report for work. Nothing is more frustrating than having a slow experience while browsing the web. That’s why Chrome has always been focused on building the fastest possible browser since its launch in 2008, without compromising on feature functionality or security.”

Google added that Chrome Android users should also be enjoying a speed boost, with the browser up to 15% faster according to its data due to new optimized navigation technology that prioritizes critical navigation moments.

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Windows 11 drive slowdown bug is finally fixed (but apparently not for everyone)

Windows 11 has received a new cumulative update which applies some important fixes, including patching up some File Explorer problems, and tackling the big SSD and hard drive slowdown bugbear which has been looming over the OS for a long time now (at least, in theory the patch deals with it – more on that later).

Update KB5008215 has been released for Patch Tuesday and brings with it the new emoji previously seen in testing (including Clippy replacing the paperclip), along with a whole bunch of bug fixes, most of which were already present in November’s preview update.

That includes solutions for Bluetooth audio volume problems, and various glitches with File Explorer such as it crashing after closing a window, and problems with displaying shortcut menus.

The big fix, though, is the cure for the gremlin causing sluggish drive speeds for some users. As Microsoft notes, the patch “addresses an issue that affects the performance of all disks (NVMe, SSD, hard disk) on Windows 11 by performing unnecessary actions each time a write operation occurs”.

Those write slowdowns can cut drive speeds in half, or worse, going by previous reports, so this is a major spanner in the storage works, and it’s good to see the fix go live.

Windows Latest reports that the cumulative update fixes these drive-related problems in its experience, but on a cautionary note, we have seen a few reports on the likes of Reddit from users who say their drive is still slower than it should be under Windows 11, even after applying KB5008215. There are also satisfied users commenting on those threads, too, saying their performance has been improved after the update.

Analysis: New patch is a positive step forward, but there are still concerns here

The fix for the driver issue is obviously an important one, as the performance reduction is huge in some reported cases, which hardly puts the new operating system in a good light. While this patch seems to fix things for a good number of Windows 11 users affected by sluggish drive performance, there are folks out there reporting that it didn’t do them any good; and that must remain a concern.

The drive slowdown bug is an issue which has been around for a good while now, indeed it surfaced a few months ago before Windows 11 was even released, and this – plus some scattered reports of it still not being cured now, with the fix applied – clearly point to it being a seriously thorny problem.

Hopefully Microsoft will be able to finalize any fresh tweaks that need to be done soon enough, but given that the holidays are almost here, the software giant won’t be putting out a preview update late in December. In other words, it won’t be until January that we see any further movement on this issue.

Obviously it’s also useful to see some File Explorer issues cleared up as well, but it’s another point of concern exactly how much has gone wrong with these fundamental building blocks of the desktop on Windows 11, all adding to the perception of the OS having been released a bit too early.

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