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Google Chrome 99 speed test thrashes Safari in Apple’s own back yard

The latest version of the Google Chrome browser for macOS computers is faster than the stock Safari app, according to Apple’s own benchmarking tool.

Chrome 99, which was released last week, has reached the highest ever score for ‘web app responsiveness’ after being put through its paces by the Speedometer created by Apple’s own WebKit team.

In a post on the Chromium blog, Google says that Chrome 99 on Mac has “achieved the highest score to date of any browser – 300 – in Apple’s Speedometer.” That’s compared to the score of 277 achieved by Safari on macOS.

“We know that benchmarks are just one of many ways of measuring the speed of a browser,” Google says. “We want to ensure that you feel that Chrome is getting faster and more reliable in the real world, so we’ll continue to invest in innovative features that push the performance of Chrome.”

Part of the speed boost is due to Google enabling a build optimisation technique called ThinLTO over the last year. Google says this technique “inlines speed-critical parts of the code base, even when they open multiple files or library.”

Overall, Google says this has resulted in an “across the board” speed improvement that sees Chrome 99 outpace Safari by 7%. When it comes to graphics performance, Google says Chrome is 15% faster than Safari.

Startlingly, Google says “since launching Chrome on M1-based Macs in late 2020, Chrome is now 43% faster than it was just 17 months ago!”

Whether web users will notice this speed boost when comparing the two browsers is unclear. If you have a decent Wi-Fi connection, pages will load extremely quickly regardless of what browser you’re using. It’s difficult to imagine noticing whether something is 7% faster when pages take around a second to load anyway.

However, as Google says, it plans to keep pushing ahead with these marginal gains and is proud to tell us about them.

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