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Windows 10 feature could fix Chrome's annoying RAM-usage problem

(Image credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

It's usually not a good idea to toss your enemy a weapon in the middle of a fight, but Microsoft doesn't seem to care. The company will arm Google Chrome with a feature that could make it tough for the new Edge browser to gain ground.

The Windows 10 May 2020 update will reduce the memory usage of some apps, including the notoriously RAM-hungry Chrome, as reported by Windows Latest. It works by using a "SegmentHeap" improvement, which Microsoft defines as a “modern heap implementation that will generally reduce your [app’s] overall memory usage.”

Microsoft has already tested the feature on the Edge browser and found memory usage reduction of up to 27%. Google is pretty excited about it, so the company submitted a commit for adopting the feature in Chrome. 

In the commit, Google software engineer Bruce Dawson notes, "Experiments with per-machine opting-in to the segment heap for chrome.exe suggests that this could save hundreds of MB in the browser and Network Service utility processes, among others, on some machines."

Results will vary

Both Microsoft and Google mentioned that the amount of RAM reduction you can expect will vary. It's possible the Windows 10 update feature fails to improve Chrome's RAM usage enough for users to notice. 

But if it does, the update will fix a long-standing complaint with Chrome: that it slows down your system by hogging its RAM. It could also backfire on Microsoft, a company trying to compete against Chrome with the new Edge browser. Microsoft has so far been successful in its effort to rejuvenate Edge; the browser quickly became the second-most popular desktop browser after just a few months when it toppled Firefox.

In our Edge vs. Chrome face-off, we gave Edge a ton of points for "using less than half of the RAM and CPU of Google Chrome." We'll be sure to reconduct our tests and update the face-off when Google adopts the feature.