Chrome update will stop Flash from killing your battery

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Macbook Pro battery indicator
Google's hoping to give you more of this from Chrome.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

An upcoming improvement to Google’s web browser will empower it to “intelligently pause content” that isn’t crucial to the page, therefore saving your laptop battery a whole lot of grief.

Google announced the Chrome update, which is currently available on its Beta channel, on its company blog yesterday. It diplomatically cites “rich web content” from Adobe as the power-sucking culprit, but of course this means animations and those annoying, autoplaying ads.

We’ve had our own troubles running Chrome on our Macbooks before, so this is a welcome update. Especially since it’s likely to save us those frustrating moments of hunting through all of our tabs to find which one of them has the commercial that just started blasting out of our speakers.

Chrome plugin menu
Here’s the menu that will soon let you drop annoying Flash content in Chrome.
Photo: Google

The “detect” part does make us worry a little, though. If we’re leaving it up to programs and algorithms to determine which content is important, it’s possible (even if unlikely) that we’ll get a repeat of Flickr’s auto-tagging debacle from a couple weeks ago. But at least the new Chrome functionality only affects the person using it instead of broadcasting offensiveness across the Internet for all to see.

Plus, you can just override it if you want to.

“If we accidentally pause something you were interested in,” Google says, “you can just click it to resume playback. This update significantly reduces power consumption, allowing you to surf the web longer before having to hunt for a power outlet.”

Google says the update will roll out to all users “soon.”