Apple, Google and Mozilla collaborate on the Speedometer 3 Browser Benchmark

Why it matters: Apple currently supports Speedometer 2.1, a tool for benchmarking web browsers on various workloads. The next major iteration of the software will receive contributions from three browser vendors to address user concerns about potential bias. The new project is in its infancy, but the collaboration marks a turning point.

Apple, Googleand MozillaComment announced that they are jointly developing the next version of the Speedometer web browser benchmark to better represent modern browser tasks. The new version is still unstable, but users can start testing it now.

Speedometer 3 is designed to test the full spectrum of how normal users use browsers by running on normal web pages rather than benchmarking in a restricted environment. The developers plan to continuously change the software based on updated data about the most important features for everyday users. Google has confirmed that the benchmark will represent JavaScript frameworks and other modern workloads.

It will be some time before Speedometer 3 is fully functional, but more information on this will emerge in the coming months. If the collaboration works, it should give web designers a better idea of ​​how their work will perform across multiple browsers.

Currently, most users who want to see how fast their browser responds to web applications should probably use Speedometer 2.1. However, since Apple uses version 2.1, it is easy to assume that its results may be skewed compared to Safari competitors such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge. A WebKit-based benchmark may not fully understand the performance challenges of, say, Blink, V8, or SpiderMonkey.

Although Apple’s WebKit GitHub page hosts Speedometer 3, Google and Mozilla will co-develop it with the Cupertino giant. This is to ensure that it maps all three browsers fairly and accurately understands how users interact with them. Mozilla’s announcement noted that a good browser benchmark requires collaboration between browser vendors, website builders, framework builders and web standards groups.

A consent-based governance policy between the three browser giants will guide the development of Speedometer 3. Trivial changes require only one approval from the companies, non-trivial changes require two to agree on them, and significant changes require consensus among the three.

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