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Google’s latest Chrome update will throttle background tabs on desktop to save battery

by Josh Levenson | March 15, 2017March 15, 2017 6:30 am PST

Google has announced an update — Chrome 57 — for its Chrome browser that should improve battery life and performance for desktop users by throttling individual background tabs.

The firm claims that background tabs are responsible for one-third of Chrome’s battery usage on computers, so it makes sense that it’s looking to limit those using excessive power.

The Chrome 57 upgrade, which will start rolling out this week, will restrict the timer fire rate for power-hungry background tabs to narrow the average CPU load to just one percent of a core.

It’s worth noting, however, that tabs playing audio or maintaining real-time connections — like WebSockets or WebRTC — won’t be affected by the changes.

25 percent fewer busy background tabs

Unfortunately, Google didn’t reveal exactly how much battery is saved using this throttling mechanism, but it stated that it should result in 25 percent fewer busy background tabs.

Chromium Blog

Josh Levenson

Josh Levenson is an avid technology enthusiast who writes news and the occasional how-to. He's also a self-proclaimed sneakerhead and has been an...

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