8th August 2014
I own a single-core laptop with 1 GB of memory. Google Chrome version 34 for Linux 64 bit (ArchLinux) is completely unusable on this machine. I own another single-core laptop with 512 MB of memory. Google Chrome version 12 for 32 bit (Ubuntu 10.04) works just fine on this machine. Both machines are considered somewhat old and underpowered according todays standard. Nevertheless they should be able to browse the web at least as fast as any smartphone or tablet.
I checked my old downloads: I have copies of Google Chrome 64 bit Debian packages which have size 13 MB in 2010. At end of 2011 it climbed to 24 MB, in 2012 to 36 MB, in 2013 to 43 MB. Now Chrome 64 bit Debian packages are 49 MB. This tremendous increase cannot be explained by security fixes.
See Blackduck: Google Chrome for a lines-of-codes against time chart.
On that occasion I searched for alternatives which can replace Google Chrome and its memory obesity. Two possible contenders might be Falkon (ex QupZilla) and Midori. Falkon/QupZilla just worked out of the box, while Midori crashed repeatedly on Ubuntu 14.04. Unfortunately I did not get Flash to work with Falkon/QupZilla. i.e., no YouTube with Falkon/QupZilla.