It’s not uncommon for me to find out that Firefox is using a gigabyte of RAM at any one time. Sure, that may seem like a lot, but I have a full 4 GB of RAM to work with, and Firefox is the most intensive thing I regularly use this computer for, so it works out just fine.
What’s that? You’re wondering how Firefox is the most resource-intensive program on my computer? Well, I have 98 tabs open at the moment. I just counted them. That says it all, really. Each tab is something I’ve come across in my web browsing that I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten to yet. Yes, several dozen of the tabs are Wikipedia articles on a large variety of topics. Thanks to Firefox’s feature of saving all of the open tabs when you exit — or even when it crashes — some of these tabs are pages I’ve been meaning to read for literally weeks.
If you have fewer tabs open than I do at the moment, just be thankful that you haven’t dug yourself into such a deep web browsing hole. It would take days of nonstop reading to work this backlog off. Wikipedia is a fiend like that: each article generally links to several other articles that I also end up reading, and after not too long at that rate, you end up with a number of tabs in the triple digits. I once read most of the military technologies of World War II articles in the course of some many-hour browsing sessions across several days — and that was started by looking up a single, completely unrelated article.
I also cannot remember how I ever possibly browsed the web before the era of tabbed browsing. Those must’ve been dark ages so painful my mind has completely blotted them from memory.