Diet Plan for Google Chrome Extensions

Developer news, mostly.

Too many extensions = too much system memory used by Chrome. Solution? put Chrome extensions on a diet.

There are many extensions that run in the background even when they are not being used. They are simply waiting for user input. What if we make it this way, run extensions only when user needs them?

Chrome team says the solution is ready for you to test and mod your extensions. You can try this out on the Dev channel from today.

Event pages are an evolution of background pages, with one major improvement: rather than running in the background all the time, an event page only runs when it is handling events. Once an event page becomes idle, it is unloaded, freeing memory until the next time it’s needed. Learn more from the event page documentation.

To help event pages support some important use cases, we’re also developing a few new APIs.

  • The alarms API allows an extension to wake itself up at set times, to support features like periodically syncing data to the cloud.
  • Some new events let extensions know when they have been installed, or when their event page is being unloaded.
  • declarative version of the webRequest API lets extensions do network interception without the need for a background page at all.

Try it Out 

We plan to release event pages to Chrome’s beta and stable channels late this summer, but you can start experimenting with them on the developer channel today. Try converting your overweight extension to event pages, and let us know how it works.

For Users

The Dev channel is ready for developers to try this new feature and put their extensions on diet. If everything goes according to plan, we will soon see this feature in the stable channel and extensions making use of it. That will free up some more memory on our computers.

Chromebook users also should see a good performance improvement when this comes in to picture. The memory made available by reducing usage by extensions will make Chrome OS run better on Chromebooks, making use of additional memory available for the operating system.

In Category: Google Chrome


Dinsan made Google Chrome his default browser within hours of its release. He fell in love with Chromebooks from the day he first touched one and is currently obsessed with Chromecasts.

Show 1 Comment
  • acupunc 22/06/2012, 8:07 pm

    I think this is great news. I have a ton of extensions in Chrome that are disabled for this very reason — they use too much memory doing nothing therefore, I enable them when needed and disable them when done.

    Chrome is not efficient with extensions. . . nowhere near FireFox IMO and I hope this helps and they do more to ensure that Chrome isn’t just being a memory hog and you can use as many extensions as you like. . .