Chrome, for all its benefits, is a memory hog. Like everything else in life and tech, Chrome's memory-hungry ways are the result of a tradeoff: it's hard to keep things light and simple when you've introduced so many new and innovative features.
Still, memory usage is a key issue for many users, especially those whose systems aren't loaded with RAM. The issue became pretty obvious to me when Firefox introduced a feature to only load tabs once they're selected. The goal was largely to reduce startup time (which it did), but it had the added benefit of reducing memory usage (albeit only until you'd selected all of your previously opened tabs).
It wasn't long before I lamented the lack of this feature in Chrome. Luckily, as is so often the case, a developer has come along to solve the problem in the form of The Great Suspender.
Every major tech blog seems to have covered this particular extension, and for good reason: it takes Firefox's idea and improves on it. The idea is simple: tabs "suspend" after a specified amount of time, thereby freeing up the resources that tab uses. Essentially, then, it does the same thing as Firefox's baked-in feature. Unlike Firefox, though, the feature is customizable and on-demand. Clicking the extension gives you the option to suspend the tab you're in, suspend all tabs, or restore all tabs. It also has a blacklist: punch in urls you want to stay open (Gmail, say), and The Great Suspender will ignore any tab that matches the keyword.
Of course, memory isn't the only thing browser tabs use up; CPU usage is also an issue. Zee at TNW reported his average CPU use dropping from ~35 percent to around 5 percent.
This extension has transformed my Chrome & computer experience.
Normally, I wouldn't cover something that nearly every major blog has recently covered, but this extension does what it does so well, and solves a problem so ubiquitous, I knew Sssimpli readers would want to hear about it (after all, it escaped my attention until very recently). It's a highly recommended download and a drastic improvement to your browsing experience. If you enjoy it, give its developer a quick thank-you.
One thing to note: remember that the extension is there; it takes some getting used to. For example, I listened to an audio file in a browser tab, and 30 minutes through, The Great Suspender suspended the tab (since I hadn't blacklisted it), and I had to reload it and find my place in the file. A minor annoyance, but worth noting.