Google retires Octane JavaScript benchmark, will focus on ‘real web pages’ instead

google retires octane javascript benchmark
Web browsing has become an increasingly intensive computing process over the years, moving from the simple display of static graphics and text to the running of sophisticated client-side applications using languages like JavaScript. Knowing how well a web browser can run today’s dynamic web experience on a given device is an important consideration for many people, and to that end, various benchmarks have been created to help test performance.

However, benchmarks have distinct life cycles, as technology advances and browser developers work around the benchmarks’ limitations. SunSpider was one of the first JavaScript benchmarks, and as its usefulness waned, Google’s Octane was introduced to take its place in 2012. Now Octane, as well, has reached the end of its usefulness and it, too, is being retired.

The reasons for Octane’s demise are fairly complex, and you can check out Google’s announcement at the V8 project blog for all of the details. In simple terms, starting around 2015, most JavaScript engines had optimized their compilers to score well on Octane tests. As developers worked to achieve ever-higher benchmark results, the actual benefits to real-life web page performance became increasingly marginal.

In addition, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia have demonstrated that the Octane benchmark wasn’t accurately reflecting how Google’s V8 JavaScript engine actually worked on real sites. Therefore, Octane wasn’t actually capturing important information on how V8 and other JavaScript engines perform in the modern web environment.

Finally, it became apparent that efforts to gain higher Octane benchmark results were actually having a deleterious effect on performance in real-world scenarios. The combination of Octane’s increasing disconnect with how web sites actually work with developers’ efforts to achieve higher and higher Octane scores meant an increasingly negative impact on how JavaScript engines were designed to perform when it really matters. Even bugs in Octane have been leveraged by developers to gain higher benchmark results.

All benchmarks suffer from similar problems, according to Google, meaning that the very process of making benchmarks to demonstrate performance eventually leads to performance decreases as developers write code that’s optimized for the benchmarks and not the real world. Google’s efforts going forward will be focused on improving performance measurements of browser performance on real web pages as opposed to merely running static test suites.

Computing

Nose cam no more. How Dell avoided a notch and fixed the XPS 13’s biggest flaw

The new Dell XPS 13 moves the webcam from the below the screen to the top, finally vanquishing the one obstacle facing thin, sleek laptop displays. We have the exclusive story on how it was done.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Mobile

Benchmark results show Snapdragon 855 destroys previous-generation chip

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.
Computing

Intel vs. AMD: Which chipmaker stole the show at CES 2019?

Intel and AMD have been competing for years, but rarely do they both debut something exciting at the same time. Intel vs. AMD at CES 2019 saw both companies step up to the plate. Who served it better?
Computing

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Computing

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.
Computing

Chip off the auction block – Intel’s i9-9990XE may be sold to the highest bidder

Intel's alleged Core i9-9990XE may only be sold at auction to OEMs, meaning that only a few of the 14-core, 28-thread, 5GHz CPUs will ever see the light of day in specific devices and systems.
Computing

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.
Computing

How to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.
Computing

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes that differentiate the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.
Android

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…
Computing

Google is giving its G Suite web apps new touches of visual improvements

Your G Suite applications will soon have a different look. Several of the web apps are getting updated with subtle visual improvements inspired by Google's Material Design guidelines. 
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Computing

Hackers are scoring with ransomware that attacks its previous victims

Computer viruses are always evolving. In a new one, dubbed "Ryuk," hackers are targeting PCs with ransomware that scours an infected network in order to pinpoint and attack and enterprises with big money.