Breather

Google cleverly designed Chrome to prevent inevitable website crashes from bringing down the entire browser. But that stability comes at the cost of tremendous RAM usage when you’ve got countless tabs open. There are tools you can use to help curb Chrome’s memory appetite, but turning tab maintenance into a game might be the best solution.

Using tab managers like TooManyTabs or Tab Wrangler can help battle Chrome bloat, but that’s like simply giving someone a fish. If you instead teach them to fish—or learn to keep their Chrome tabs to a bare minimum—you’ll help ensure their laptop isn’t always struggling to keep up. And that’s what Breather’s Tabagotchi, an amusing clone of those virtual pet toys, promises to do.

GIF via Tabagotchi.com

With the Tabagotchi Chrome extension installed, every time you open a new tab you’ll be greeted by your virtual browser pet. But you don’t need to feed it, groom it, or play with it to keep it alive. You just need to keep the number of tabs you have open to a minimum. Each new tab you open in Chrome causes your Tabagotchi’s health meter to lose 4 points, making it angrier and closer to death with every random Google search you make.

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If you’re a tab hoarder, this could be a fun way to rein in your addiction. But that assumes you actually care more about keeping your virtual pet alive than you do about queueing up some fantastic Gizmodo stories to read later. (You should probably just stick with the latter.)

[Tabagotchi via Swissmiss]