New Chrome Browser Makes Laptops Run Faster And Longer

Image: Supplied

The latest version of Google Chrome has a neat new feature that prevents background tabs from sapping your laptop's battery. This can prolong browsing time significantly when multitasking on the go. Here are the details.

Google Chrome recently overtook Internet Explorer to become the world's most popular web browser. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a battery hog when you've got multiple tabs open on your tablet or laptop. If you're running old hardware it can also make productivity slow to a crawl due to the complexity of modern web sites.

The good news is that the latest desktop version of Chrome (version 57) - which is available to download now - is much better at handling background processes and tabs. Here's the spiel from Chrome's official blog:

To prolong battery life, Chrome should minimize power impact from things users can’t see. This includes background tabs, which consume a third of Chrome's power usage on desktop. Starting in version 57, Chrome will throttle individual background tabs by limiting the timer fire rate for background tabs using excessive power.

Chrome has focused on improving the user experience by throttling tab performance for many years. Like many browsers, Chrome has limited timers in the background to only run once per second. Via the new throttling policy, Chrome 57 will delay timers to limit average CPU load to 1% of a core if an application uses too much CPU in background. Tabs playing audio or maintaining real-time connections like WebSockets or WebRTC won’t be affected.

We've found that this throttling mechanism leads to 25% fewer busy background tabs. In the long-term, the ideal is for background tabs to be fully suspended and instead rely on new APIs for service workers to do work in the background. Chrome will continue to take steps in this direction to prolong users' battery life, while still enabling all the same experiences developers can build today.

There are exceptions to what types of tabs Chrome will throttle, however. Tabs that are playing music in the background won't be throttled, and neither will tabs that use WebSockets or WebRTC such as the popular chat client Slack. This helps to ensure that the apps you want to run in the background continue to work as expected.

To manually get the latest version of Chrome, just go to Settings > About and check your latest version number; you'll need to relaunch your web browser to install the latest version.

[Via Gizmodo]


Comments

    I solved forever my problem with ram/power consumption by my dozens of background tabs with an extension called Tab Wrangler that automatically closes background tabs after being inactive for a while AND keeps a handy history of those closed tabs, which can be relaunched with a click. For the fist time in... over a decade? I don't have 30+ tabs opened at the same time.

    "The Great Suspender" chrome plugin will stop background tabs completely, just clicking on the suspended page will relaunch the website in the same tab.

    It will automatically suspend pages after a set amount of time, except when there's form data which some advertising companies have taken advantage of (ahem, Gawker, *cough*) to make sure their javascript keeps running.

    All this update does is make it easier for the big players to run their (now more efficient) monitoring javascript and more difficult for the smaller companies. If you have a Facebook tab open, for instance, there's not really a big change to the process and bandwidth use.

    I wonder what took them so long to fix the issue?

      Because they didn't see it as an issue. Much like how they don't see an issue with having multiple apps instead of having a single app that does everything
      I.e. How Hangouts is being shelved in place of different less feature rich apps. Google is just as good at telling people what they should want as any other big tech company...

        Not commenting on Hangouts/Allo/Duo specifically but software development in general:

        A single app that does everything is bad design. It's much harder to maintain and forces users to accept 'all or nothing' for features they don't like. One of the most successful principles in software development to date is 'do one thing and do it well', with the corollary that your software should also maintain clean and simple interfaces that can be hooked into by other programs.

        A set of ten separate programs that interoperate well with each other is much better for both the developer and the consumer than a single program that offers ten major features, particularly when it eventuates that one of those features doesn't work (or doesn't work well) with the customer's environment. The former arrangement lets the user swap out the bad element, the latter forces the user to swap out the entire monolith.

        Last edited 17/03/17 7:19 am

          The thing with Hangouts though is it could have been the iMessage competitor Android users wanted, but the team behind it were useless at adding/fixing things when they were needed (also removing loved features). Hangouts is in a much better place these days, but instead of promoting it as their main communication app they replace it with a 1-to-1 video chat app, a generic SMS app and a gimped chat app that only gets new sticker packs in every update.
          I love what Google does, but I wish they'd just focus on one service every now and then instead of making competition for themselves.

            I haven't looked into the Allo/Duo changes enough to really comment but I do like Hangouts, and a passing glance does make it seem inconvenient. It may be that they're splitting it up too much, I just meant to convey a general good practice with software development.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now