Unseen Burdens in Chrome That Can Lead a Mac to Lag


Q. I noticed my Mac was acting a little sluggish. When I opened the OS X system monitor to see what was going on, I found all these things called “Google Chrome Helper” listed. Is that a legitimate piece of software?

A. The Google Chrome browser offers security and can run many useful extensions, but it can also be a major drain on a computer’s memory and resources; some users have even documented the browser’s effect on a MacBook’s battery life. Google Chrome Helper is indeed a legitimate part of Chrome, and it is used when the browser and its plug-in software (like the Adobe Flash Player) are pulling in content from sites around the web.

When you see several instances of Google Chrome Helper listed in your Mac’s Activity Monitor program, it is usually because you have multiple plug-ins and browser tabs open at once. Closing tabs you are not currently using can help cut down on Chrome’s consumption of your Mac’s memory and processing power.

You can also try turning off Chrome plug-ins you do not use in the browser’s settings. As for the plug-ins you do want to keep using, like Adobe Flash Player for watching videos, you can stop them from automatically running in the browser until you click to play them.

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Multiple instances of Google Chrome Helper in the Mac’s Activity Monitor program typically means that the browser has several open tabs and plug-ins running.

To do so, close all of your Chrome tabs and windows, but keep the program itself open. In the Chrome menu in the Mac’s upper-left toolbar, select Preferences. On the screen of settings that opens, scroll down and click “Show advanced settings.” On the Advanced Settings screen, go to the Privacy section and click the Content Settings button.

On the Content Settings box, scroll to Plug-ins and change the setting from the default “Run all plug-in content” to “Let me choose when to run plug-in content.” Click the Done button when you are finished, or click the nearby “Manage individual plug-ins” link to go further and disable specific browser plug-ins. If you find that Chrome is consuming too many of your Mac’s resources even after you streamline things, try an alternative browser.

Putting a Name to Facebook

Q. Why does Facebook require that you use your legal name on the site? Why should it matter what you want to call yourself?

A. Facebook says its policy of requiring real names on user profiles keeps the site’s community safer because “you always know who you’re connecting with.” The company does not require that you use the exact name on your official legal identification, though. Common nicknames like “Dave” instead of “David” are acceptable, and the site allows maiden names to be added to profiles as well, as long as they are part of your “authentic identity.”

The company’s policy, however, has drawn criticism from some Native Americans, drag performers, members of the transgender community and people who use an online alias for safety or privacy reasons. Facebook apologized last year after suspending the accounts of users it had marked as violators of its real-name requirement. Although many suspended profiles were reinstated after protests, other people are still speaking out about the policy.

If your account is wrongly suspended, Facebook will accept several types of documents as proof of identity if you challenge and appeal the suspension. Along with scans of government-issued identification like a passport or driver’s license, you can also show things like yearbook photos, tribal status cards, utility bills and even magazine subscription stubs to verify your name.

Facebook’s site has a list of things that are not allowed in user profile names. Words or phrases instead of nicknames, numbers, symbols, profanity or characters from multiple languages violate Facebook’s own Community Standards and will probably be rejected.



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