Google, Microsoft Launch Competing Browser Benchmarks

Surprisingly, Google's Chrome didn't perform all that well on the benchmark it developed.
Posted September 26, 2012

Cynthia Harvey

Google has released a new open source browser benchmark called RoboHornet that attempts to test browser performance with "real world" Web apps. Although Microsoft's Internet Explorer performed very well on the test, Microsoft criticized the benchmark and then launched a competing version of its own.

According to the RoboHornet page on GitHub, "The goal of the RoboHornet benchmark is to distill the collective will of the web development community to get browser vendors to fix real-world performance pain points. RoboHornet is an aspirational benchmark that sketches out a better future based on the performance pain of today."

The Register's Neil McAllister explained, "the new, open source benchmark suite is different from earlier ones in that it doesn't focus on timing arbitrary JavaScript algorithms. Instead, it collects code snippets found in popular web frameworks and applications – including jQuery, YUI, Google Apps, and others – in an attempt to demonstrate real-world performance problems. The result is a formidable benchmark suite that takes minutes to complete on typical hardware – assuming the browser can make it through the full list of tests at all."

Tom's Hardware conducted some tests using the RoboHornet benchmarks. While Chrome topped Internet Explorer on Windows 7 and Ubuntu, the story was different with Windows 8. "Breaking out Windows 8 RTM for the first time in a browser comparison yields some very surprising results. Internet Explorer 10 smashes the competition, performing 37% better than even the latest version of Google's Chrome and earning the only score in this test to double the baseline. Still no slouch, Chrome 21 is far ahead of third-place finisher Opera 12, at 71% and 33% above baseline (respectively). Firefox 15 again places last."

Despite Internet Explorer's strong results on Windows 8, InfoWorld reported that Microsoft poo-pooed  Google's RoboHornet, calling it a "micro-benchmark." The article noted, "Microsoft's dismissal of the benchmark didn't stop the company from using it to build its own benchmark, dubbed RoboHornet Pro." It added, "Surprise, surprise, Microsoft reported that Internet Explorer 10 passed the RoboHornet Pro test with flying colors, while Chrome '[slowed] to a crawl and stops animating the screen, because it wasn't designed to handle a benchmark load in the context of a real-world scenario.'"

Tags: Google, Microsoft, browser, Internet Explorer, Chrome, benchmark, web app

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