Possible fix to Gmail acting slowly in Google Chrome

A few colleagues and I have noticed a delay in the autofill feature of Gmail in the past few days and it is getting more and more annoying by the hour. We also noticed it on our learning management system (which is integrated with Gmail) making most parts of our days take even longer than they’ve been taking recently. The symptom: when we tried to type a name into the to: field, it would type just fine, but as soon as the autofill completed and I hit return, it would take 3-4 seconds for the address to actually be entered. Having to do this for a handful of virtual students during class made this a huge waste of time. Imagine needing to email five students an assignment while keeping the seven students in my right classroom and the seven students in my left classroom on task, while watching precious seconds pass by without being able to do anything productive. Did I mention I stand in a doorway to teach my class?

I did all the regular things I tell all my colleagues to try when the internet is acting weird (you should try these too if you are having issues).

  1. Make sure you limit the number of tabs you have open concurrently.
  2. Check to see if Chrome is up to date and restart the browser.
  3. Restart your computer (I don’t truly know the ins and outs of why this work, but it has solved so many of the unexplainable issues I’ve run into).
  4. Grab a hammer…

Obviously step four is only the last resort, so I thought about what else could be the problem, and then I remembered… extensions. Extensions are so great and help in many ways, but they are created by lots of random developers. And once you get more than one person working on a project, you can run into some issues. So I disabled all of my extensions. Interestingly enough, you can’t disable all the extensions with a single button. Unless of course, you install another extension that can do that for you. So, I installed the aptly named Disable Extensions Temporarily to quickly check if the extensions were indeed the culprit. Refresh Gmail and magically the issue went away. I enabled the extensions again, and boom, the problem was back. So three by three, I disabled each row of extensions to narrow down my search. And I eventually ran into my bad extension… Rakuten. When I disabled it, the issue disappeared. After uninstalling it and restarting my browser, Gmail was back to its usual self. So if Chrome feels slow and bogged down, take a look and see if Rakuten is the issue for you. If not, try to disable all the extensions and then narrow down which one is causing your headache so that you can go back to a hassle-free experience.