What Site Isolation is and what it’s for on Chrome

With version 63 of Chrome, Google introduced the new Site Isolation feature, which allows devices to defend themselves against the Spectre bug

The Spectre and Meltdown bugs have forced companies to scramble to fix the hardware bugs that have affected all devices made in recent years. Google, Microsoft and Apple (just to name the biggest companies) have released updates to put a "patch" and make the two bugs harmless.

Also with regard to Chrome, Google has released a new version (number 63) that allows you to use computers, smartphones and tablets without the fear of being attacked by hackers. In the new version of the browser there is the "Site Isolation" feature that allows you to manage each open tab with a different process. In this way, if an open page closes inadvertently, you can still continue using Chrome. A very similar system is the one already present in the browser, although it works in a very slightly different way.

What is Site Isolation

Chrome is a browser that uses a lot of the computer's system resources. And the reason is quite simple: every single page uses a single process. This system always works, except if a tab is opened via a link on another page (for example, when you click on a URL in an email or an article from the home page of a newspaper): in this case the two windows share the same process. With Site Isolation the management of pages opened through links changes: they won't share the same process with the "mother" tab, but a new one will be created. This will cause Chrome to use more of the PC's system resources: it is estimated that RAM will be occupied for an additional 10-20%.

How to activate Site Isolation

For the moment the feature is still in beta version and to activate it you need to enter the "Experiments" section of Chrome. To do this you must type in the address bar the string "chrome://flags". In the new window that opens, press Ctrl+F and search for the term Site Isolation. At this point the Strict Site Isolation feature should appear. If you press the Enable button, Site Isolation will take effect (you'll need to restart your browser).

What Site Isolation protects us from

Site Isolation is one of the many tools Google is working on to protect devices from Spectre and Meltdown. Although it will degrade the performance of our devices, it is highly recommended to install it.