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Upcoming Chrome browser feature promises to deliver big battery gains for laptops

Google investigating new ways to reduce Chrome CPU hogging. (Image: Notebookcheck)
Google investigating new ways to reduce Chrome CPU hogging. (Image: Notebookcheck)
A new feature update coming to Chrome 86 looks set to make serious reductions in its resource usage. The experimental feature could extend battery life considerably on laptops by shutting down certain background tasks in open tabs.

Google’s Chrome browser is the most popular browser in the world with current figures showing it has a market share of 65 percent. That doesn’t mean it is perfect, however, with users often complaining about it being a resource hog. Things could be set to change with an incoming feature update to Chrome 86 that should reduce CPU cycles that are otherwise offering little in terms of functionality to the end user.

According to the folks at TheWindowsClub, the experimental feature being introduced to Chrome 86 will limit Javascript timer wake ups in background webpages/open tabs to 1 wake up per minute. This is similar to a feature already built into Apple’s Safari browser and will be available in all versions of Chrome 86 across Android, Chrome OS, Mac, Linux and Windows. Currently, the number of wake up calls in Chrome’s Javascript times doesn’t offer any benefit to users.

According to Google’s internal testing, switching to just one Javascript timer wake up per minute with 36 random tabs open in the background yielded a massive 28 percent improvement in laptop battery life when the foreground tab is about:blank. With foreground activity like running YouTube in fullscreen mode along with some other tweaks, the same reduction in Javscript calls resulted in a 13 percent improvement in battery life. Google hasn’t confirmed if it will take the feature mainstream, but even with it enabled, Safari still leads it in efficiency by some margin according to Google’s own data.

Battery life usage with one blank tab in the foreground and 36 active tabs in the background. (TheWindowsClub)
Battery life usage with one blank tab in the foreground and 36 active tabs in the background. (TheWindowsClub)
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 07 > Upcoming Chrome browser feature promises to deliver big battery gains for laptops
Sanjiv Sathiah, 2020-07- 6 (Update: 2020-07- 6)
Sanjiv Sathiah
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have grown to enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture out now on Spotify.