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Chrome Extensions Slow Down Your Browsing And Compromise Autonomy: Research Reveals

Chrome extensions

A company has tested the 1,000 most popular Chrome extensions giving the Verdict: Abuse of browser extensions could be an issue.

Whether you are a user of Google Chrome, Mozilla FirefoxMicrosoft Edge, Opera, or Apple Safari … you may be using extensions to add new functions to your web browser.

DebugBear, which designs a monitoring tool to monitor the performance of the website, has carried out a study on the 1,000 most popular Chrome extensions. The goal was to assess the impact of these extensions on your web browsing experience and on the performance of your computer.

Four indicators have been analyzed, these are key indicators when developing a website: the CPU Time (the execution time of a process by the processor), rendering times of a web page, the CPU Time in the background as well as the browser’s RAM consumption.

Tested 1000 Most Popular Chrome Extensions

Research Snipers notes that after testing the 1,000 most popular Chrome extensions, the study shows that extensions can have a significant impact on the display time of a web page, but also on the consumption of resources on your computer. This can, therefore, have negative consequences on the performance of your computer, but also on its autonomy.

To give you a specific example: if no extension is installed, loading the example.com page takes about 40 ms of CPU Time. If you have installed Evernote or Grammarly (an extension to check grammar in English), this goes over 500 ms. These extensions add code to each load of a web page.

The Evernote extension, which I have used for several years, is used by 4 million users today. It adds a 2.9 MB script loaded to each page, a total of 140 ms is devoted to the analysis and compilation of this code. Once the packet is loaded, it must be evaluated, which takes another 300 ms.

Even if these extensions do not necessarily block the content of a page, some extensions can even temporarily stop the loading of a web page. Most extensions only introduce a minor delay in rendering, however, adding up all of your installed extensions can have a significant impact.

Ad Blocker Is Another Culprit Taking Too Much RAM

Personally, I use Screen Capture, Evernote, too, a password manager that checks if there is a login form or Antidote, a spell checker that searches for text fields… I also use Google Keep which allows you to save notes on the fly, without forgetting some tools dedicated to web development (ColorZilla, JSON Viewer, Clear Cache…). A large list of extensions, and yet I sort these extensions regularly to remove some.

Among the popular extensions, there are many extensions dedicated to data privacy as well as ad blockers. Ghostery, one of the most popular extensions, loads 160 KB of JavaScript and adds 120 ms of CPU Time for an example. Ad blockers can speed up the loading of a web page by blocking ad scripts, however, they take up a lot of RAM in the browser. This is mainly due to the storage of blocked domain lists.

According to tests, the blocker DDG Privacy Essentials seems to be the best performing since it manages to reduce the number of requests by 95% and the download weight by 80%.

Weed Out Your Extensions

This study is interesting because it helps to understand that the use of extensions on a web browser is not anecdotal: these extensions consume a lot of data, RAM and can slow down the loading of each web page. If you use a laptop, it can also decrease its autonomy. So sort your extensions, determine which ones are really useful and which ones you no longer use. Finally, this study also puts into perspective the consequences of the arrival of extensions on our smartphones which could reduce their autonomy in the event of abuse.

Mark Goodman

Digital marketing enthusiast and industry professional in Digital technologies, Technology News, Mobile phones, software, gadgets with vast experience in the tech industry, I have a keen interest in technology, News breaking.