Google Chrome for Mac is finally kinder on battery life

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Photo: Cult of Mac

The latest Chrome update for Mac is finally kinder on battery life, thanks to a new processor throttling feature.

Google has taken steps to minimize the power impact from things you cannot see, which leads to 25 percent fewer “busy background tabs.”

Chrome is perhaps the best web browser you can use on desktop — especially if you already rely on Google syncing services. That’s why it’s so popular. But its biggest drawback is that it can be a resource hog, and it tends to sap power quicker than Safari or Microsoft Edge.

Google has been working to improve this in recent years by throttling tab performance, but its version 57 update steps those efforts up a notch.

Like competing browsers, Chrome has limited timers in the background that only run once per second, Google explains. Under its new throttling policy, Chrome will delay those timers to limit average CPU load to as little as 1 percent of a core if too much power is being consumed.

Tabs playing audio or maintaining real-time connections like WebSockets or WebRTC won’t be affected, so you’ll still be able to enjoy your music in a background tab and rely on services that need to be constantly updated.

“We’ve found that this throttling mechanism leads to 25% fewer busy background tabs,” Google says. “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 move in this direction to become more power efficient, while still providing the same experience fans enjoy today, promises a post on the Chromium Blog. You can download Chrome version 57 now.