So how fast is this Chrome thing

The blogosphere seems to be chock full of Chrome news and benchmarks. My inner nerd likes benchmarks so I took note and tried to find a good comparison between the browsers. To much disappointment, I couldn’t find a single one that actually included all the upcoming interesting browsers, namely Chrome’s V8 and IE 8, Webkit’s new Squirrelfish and Mozilla’s Tracemonkey.

So I made my own chart. Overall speeds of the browsers are (time in ms, smaller is better):

What can we see here? IE 8 is going to be a massive speed boost to the benchmark, but only because they’ve fixed whatever caused the abysmally bad String score (as seen below), meaning I doubt real world applications will actually see any improvement. Opera is fine but not the cream of the crop. Current versions of Firefox, Opera and Safari are good already, but the new versions will improve the performance very significantly.

Interestingly, Chrome doesn’t actually perform that well on the benchmark. I think my machine is having some odd Beta issue that’s causing it to perform badly, given my Webkit score is better than on benchmarks that giv much better score to Chrome. However, even if I took the best score I’ve seen for Chrome online, it’s not better than Webkit or Firefox’s upcoming releases.

Detailed graph below. Please note the following uses logarithmic scale. Again, smaller is better.

What does this mean? What’s at least clear is, the claims of having implemented ground-breaking new performance-shattering engines that Firefox, Chrome and Webkit teams have put out are true, but also marketing drivel given the engines are actually running at similar speeds. Microsoft is losing the browser game which hopefully will make them releases a high quality browser one day, but I’m not holding my breath that’ll happen very soon.

And yes, Chrome user interface is nice. When the Mac version comes out, I’ll consider switching right away. Using Webkit nightly as the main browser is like so last night anyway.

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