Google is currently testing a Chromebook feature that could offer substantial improvements in battery life for laptops, according to the company.
Here’s what’s going on. Many browsers, including Chrome, idle background tabs, which reduces their active CPU time and thus their effects on a laptop’s battery life. In Chrome, a page is currently idled with its CPU load throttled after it’s spent five minutes in the background — which could be in a separate window where none of the tabs are in focus and are actively being used. In that state, the page will “wake up” once per minute to check for activity. Otherwise, the page is considered “active.”
What Google is proposing is to do is to throttle the page’s CPU load after just ten seconds, not the current five minutes. “This is expected to extend battery life,” according to a Chrome feature page. “An experiment on the Canary and Dev channels did not reveal any regression to our guiding metrics and there are significant improvement (~10%) to CPU time when all tabs are hidden and silent.”
While this might not extend battery life in Chromebooks by a full 10 percent, this could well have a significant effect if you’re like us and keep many tabs open across multiple windows at any one time. In that situation, all of those background tabs won’t soak up CPU resources as they once would, allowing a PC running Chrome to last longer before its battery expires.