Chrome has been crowned the fastest web browser by Gomez, the benchmarks division of Compuware. Rather than relying on a battery of lab-based tests, its performance tables are based on 'real world' desktop usage on broadband connections. According to a report by TechCrunch, the data was collected over a period of a month, capturing 1.86billion measurements over 200 websites.
Each of the tested browsers has two sets of average readings, one each for 'page load time' and 'perceived render time'. The latter refers to how rapidly visible portions of the page load, as opposed to all data.
For page load time, Chrome (3.43 seconds) was about a half-second faster than its nearest rival, Firefox, with Safari and IE another half-second behind. (Opera was not included in the results; Chrome 12 was tested, despite version 13 now being the latest.)
For perceived time, Firefox (2.18 seconds) edged ahead of Chrome, with IE third and Safari some way behind. That said, it's worth noting that the entire range in both 'page load' and 'perceived render time' tables was about a second, and results for previous versions of browsers show Safari and IE rapidly closing the download-speed gap.
Some aspects of the Gomez benchmark strategy have been called into question, however, with critics noting that broadband is extremely variable and download speeds for any one site can dramatically vary depending on load, the time they are accessed and myriad other factors.