chrome: Explained: How Google claims to have made Chrome faster than Safari on Mac

For years now Google Chrome has been the most popular browser — both on mobile and desktop — in the world. For those who use Apple devices, Safari offers features that make them switch from Chrome. One of the big reasons has been that Safari was faster than Chrome on a MacBook or even an iPhone. However, Google now claims that Chrome on Mac is faster than Safari. How did Google manage to do that? In a blog post, Google explained how it did so and we break it down here.
Is Chrome really faster than Safari on Mac?
At least Google says so. In a blog post, Max Christoff, senior director, Chrome Engineering, said that Chrome on Mac has achieved the highest score to date of any browser – 300 – in Apple’s Speedometer browser responsiveness benchmark.

How has Google managed to do ‘beat’ Safari on Mac?

Christoff explains that Google made many performance changes in Chrome in the last year or so. For instance, Google enabled ThinLTO in Chrome, a build optimisation technique that inlines speed-critical parts of the code base, even when they span multiple files or libraries. Google says that what it did was that it gave an additional across-the-board speed bump that makes Chrome 7% faster than current builds of Safari.
Google says that the performance is also better in terms of graphics. Combined with recent graphics optimisations (namely, pass-through decoder and out-of-process rasterization), Chrome’s graphics performance to be 15% faster than Safari. Google made several changes to Chrome on Apple’s M1-based Macs in late 2020. Chrome, says Google, is now 43% faster than it was just 17 months ago.

Using V8 Sparkplug compiler and short builtin calls

Not just that Google says that the two other contributors to improving Google’s speed were V8 Sparkplug compiler and short builtin calls. “Sparkplug is a new mid-tier JavaScript compiler for V8 that generates efficient code with low compilation overhead. Short builtin calls are used by the V8 JavaScript engine to optimise the placement of generated code inside the device’s memory,” Google explained. This technique boosts performance by avoiding indirect jumps when calling functions and makes a substantial difference on Apple M1-based Macs.

Are benchmark tests the ‘real’ deal?

Not really but as Google says that benchmarks are just one of many ways of measuring the speed of a browser. Benchmark scores can vary and aren’t the be-all and end-all as such but do give a good indication of performance. Google claims that Chrome is actually faster and more efficient in everyday usage.