• Google is testing new power-saving functionality in Chrome.
  • In some cases, the feature can increase battery life by as much as two hours.
  • Currently, you can only access the feature through a flag in Chrome 86, but it works on both desktop and mobile.

You have to go back almost to the beginning of Chrome’s history as a web browser to find a time when it wasn’t considered a battery and memory hog. But it looks like Google is working on something that may address at least one of those issues. According to The Windows Club, the company is testing an experimental feature in Chrome 86 that reduces battery drain.

The new tool works by limiting background tabs to one Javascript timer wake up call per minute. Websites often include Javascript tasks that will do things like check where your cursor is on the page and how you’re interacting with ads. There’s little reason for those types of tasks to be consistently running in the background when you’re not even looking at a webpage. For good reason, this is how Safari has done things for a while.

Conducting a test using the feature, Google reportedly saw battery life extended by two hours when it had 36 tabs running in the background. The one important thing to note here is that the one foreground tab was open to a blank page. The battery savings Google saw were more modest when the company ran the same test but with a YouTube video playing in fullscreen mode. After turning off any screen settings that could affect the trial, the company saw a 36-minute improvement in battery life, according to TWC.

At the moment, this power-saving feature is only available as a flag in Chrome 86, which means it’s not something you can activate in the standard version of Google’s web browser. As with most in-development features, there’s also a chance the company could scrap it altogether. The good news is that it’s available across both desktop and mobile versions of the browser, so if it does eventually make its way to the consumer version of Chrome, you’ll be able to take advantage of its power-saving capabilities on most of your devices.

 

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