Apple, Google, and Mozilla are teaming up to make a next-gen browser benchmark

Apple, Google, and Mozilla, the makers of Safari, Chrome, and Firefox, are teaming up to create a next-gen browser benchmark called Speedometer 3, according to tweets from all three companies. This means that the major players in the web browser and rendering engine space will have a say in a benchmark that’s meant to test how their apps perform with the latest tech that websites may be using.

In a Twitter thread, Mozilla says that a benchmark built by several web companies will help provide a “shared understanding of what matters.” The company says that’s important when you’re trying to coordinate across web developers, standards bodies, the groups that build the engines that interpret code based on those standards, and the companies that build browsers based around those engines. Apple’s WebKit Twitter account lays it out by saying that “working together will help us further improve the benchmark and improve browser performance for our users.”

Inevitably, this benchmark will end up being used to compare Safari’s WebKit to Chrome’s Blink or Google’s V8 engine to Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey, which could be uncomfortable for the companies depending on the results. As Google points out in its Twitter thread, though, the companies have set up rules that should help prevent any of them from trying to tip the results in their favor. Nontrivial changes will require approval from “at least two of the participating browser projects” and can’t be implemented if there are strong objections from others, and major changes require a consensus from everyone involved, according to the governance policy.

It’s currently very early days for Speedometer 3 — its GitHub page says that it’s in “active development and is unstable” and recommends using Speedometer 2.1 instead. (That version was mainly made by Apple’s WebKit team.) According to Google, the companies are looking to make sure the new version is “updated to include representative modern workloads, like JavaScript frameworks,” and there will be more info on what exactly that looks like within the next few months.

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