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Speed up Google’s browser on low-powered computers with OneTab for Chrome

12 March 2013, Nick Peers

Once upon a time Google Chrome was considered the go-to browser for those looking for a fast, speedy browser, even on low-powered computers. These days, however, those running older 32-bit OSes with 4GB or less than RAM might struggle to reconcile the sluggish performance they witness on a day-to-day basis with the supposedly nimble Chrome.

The problem with Chrome – and Firefox too – is that the more tabs you have open, the more memory Chrome gobbles up. It doesn’t take much to assign gigabytes of RAM to Chrome, which may leave your computer creaking at the seams. Short of closing down those tabs, what can you do? The solution lies in a tiny, elegant add-on called OneTab for Chrome 1.3, which has just been launched.

OneTab is a tiny 85KB download that adds a small, unobtrusive button to the Chrome toolbar. When your browser’s demands become too much, clicking this button sees all of your tabs magically disappear, reduced to a list in a single browser tab. And as the tabs close, so too does Chrome return RAM to your system, with an instant improvement in performance.

Speed up Google Chrome on low-powered computers with OneTab.

OneTab claims to be able to reduce memory consumption by up to 95 per cent – from gigabytes to one or two hundred megabytes – and in some cases it may even free up CPU cycles too, as script-based sites are quietly folded into the background.

This is all well and good, but what about the tabs you just closed? You still want access to them, right? No problem – just click a tab entry in the list to restore it, or click Restore All should you want to bring them all back to life. As tabs are closed, restored and closed again, so OneTab’s history list builds up and your tabs get grouped by the last time they were shut down. The history survives different Chrome sessions too, so nothing is lost when you close down your browser.

This list can also be managed, so you can delete unwanted tabs completely – either individually or by group. One drawback is that a tab’s history isn’t restored with the tab (you can still access previous websites via Chrome’s own History though). OneTab also allows you to share groups of tabs as public webpages, plus export and import previous groups for backup and syncing to different computers.

It all adds up to one clever, simple-to-use extension for any Chrome user, although those struggling to maintain multi-tab setups on older, lower spec’d machines will of course see the most benefit. And for any jealous Firefox users out there, the developers behind OneTab promise that a Mozilla-friendly version is in development.

OneTab for Chrome 1.3 is a freeware download for Windows, Mac and Linux computers running Google Chrome.

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