Skip to main content

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Coppock
Mark has been a geek since MS-DOS gave way to Windows and the PalmPilot was a thing. He’s translated his love for…
Alienware is having a clearance sale on some of its top gaming laptops
The Alienware x14 in front of a window.

There are a ton of gaming laptop deals all going on at Dell right now with some big discounts on highly-sought after Alienware laptops. If you've been waiting to upgrade to a new gaming rig, this is an ideal time to save big. Unlike laptop deals, these are all squarely focused on ensuring you get the best gaming performance while you play. Here's a look at some of the highlights. Remember -- they're unlikely to stick around for long.
Alienware x14 gaming laptop -- $1,000, was $1,500

The Alienware x14 gaming laptop is well-priced for anyone who wants a sweet laptop geared towards gaming without spending a fortune. It has a 12th-generation Intel Core i5 processor along with 16GB of memory and 512GB of SSD storage. The Star of the show is its Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card paired with a 14-inch full HD display that offers a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. Regarded as the world's thinnest 14-inch gaming laptop, it's super slim while still packing in an advanced Alienware Cryo-tech cooling system and a great battery life, as well as USB-C charging ports. Even its keyboard is better than most with a 1.2mm key-travel experience and N-key rollover capabilities.

Read more
These PC fans took almost a decade to make, but they might be worth the wait
Noctua's next-gen PC fans.

Noctua already makes some of the best PC fans out there, and now its arsenal is about to receive what seems to be a huge boost. As revealed during Computex, Noctua is working on a 140mm fan that's expected to outperform the competition, including Noctua's own products.

The yet-unnamed 140mm fan has had a rocky development that took many years, but it's finally nearing completion. And it looks like it's not going to be cheap.

Read more
How to use Dante to create your own version of GPT-4
how to use dante create gpt 4 dantechatbotlaptop01

GPT-4 is one of the most capable language models, but did you know you can use it to create your own custom chatbot that specializes in something you're interested in? With Dante you can. It's an AI tool that you can train with your own data: PDF files, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Youtube videos ... whatever information you want it to know.

Here's how to use Dante to create your own GPT-4 chatbot.

Read more