Google Chrome is the most popular web browser worldwide, but that doesn’t mean it’s free from flaws. Consistently, Chrome has distinguished itself as a fast web browser, and its minimalist user interface has been praised as well. On the other hand, the browser’s heavy usage of system resources has been criticized by users. Users generally find that the amount of RAM used by Chrome is more than the amount of RAM used by competing browsers.
One of the defining features of Chrome is the fact that it has a sandboxed process model. Nominally, each tab gets its own process for security reasons. This is because one particular tab crashing should not bring down the whole web browser. Also, by having multiple system processes, malware in a particular tab is isolated from stealing data of another tab.
Up until now, the “one process for every tab” has had its nuances. Related web pages used a shared process, for example. If users used a single tab and browsed multiple websites, then the sites would share the same process. If the user opened a link from a tab, then the new tab would also share the same process as it was a “related” page. However, this changes with Site Isolation in Chrome.
Site Isolation was introduced in Google Chrome 63, but it hasn’t been enabled up until now. The feature introduces a stricter process model, as a new process is required for each and every website. The sharing system of processes between related tabs has been eliminated, which means that now, each tab will have its own system process with no exceptions being allowed.
This has its upsides and downsides. The upside here is that security is improved. The downside is that Chrome’s memory usage (which is extremely high already) is increased even more by the feature. According to Google, with Site Isolation enabled, Chrome’s memory usage can go up by 10-20 percent.
Now, Site Isolation has been enabled in Chrome Beta. This was done to ensure that the feature gets as much coverage as possible before it is made the default. A member of the Google Chrome security and desktop engineering team states that the company is on track to turn the feature on in Google Chrome 67. The Chrome team advises users to help them find bugs, so that they can be resolved before Site Isolation is rolled out in the stable version.