Google's Octane claims to be "real-world" browser benchmark

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Google has long been an advocate of making the web a faster place. This ideal is epitomized by the company's increasingly popular (and speedy) Internet browser, Chrome. Remaining focused on that quest for speed, today the company revealed Octane, a browser-based performance benchmark which aims to better report "real-world" performance.

Octane joins numerous other browser benchmarks but Google stresses that Octane is a little different. Although the new suite of tests is really just a revamp of V8, Octane extends Google's former benchmark suite with five new routines based on unaltered, well-known web applications. The thinking is, since these applications/libraries are independent of Google and the tests leverage many functions, Octane should provide the most realistic, impartial results yet by any browser benchmark.

Coincidentally (or perhaps not), Wired found that Chrome is king when it comes to Octane's performance evaluation. Chrome scored 8,517 points where runner up, Safari 6, reached only 6007 on the same system.

Although Octane's underlying principle of using well-known web apps appears reasonably fair, some may contend that Chrome's higher scores are simply a product of Google cherry-picking web apps. Conspiracies aside though, the other explanation is: maybe Chrome really is just that fast? It's difficult to know for sure.

Amongst the benchmarks added to evaluate real-world performance is an open-source GameBoy emulator. Originally written by Grant Galitz, the author (presumably) made a friendly jibe about Google using his old, freely-distributable code at The Verge.

The remaining four JavaScript apps/libraries includes are Mandreel, a 3D bullet engine; Pdf.js, an open-source PDF reader by Mozilla; a popular 3D physics engine called Box2DWeb; and CodeLoad, a code bootstrapping library.

Octane's source code is readily available to anyone who wants a peek under the hood. Readers can run Octane for themselves here.

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