A new Chromebook feature could gradually extend your laptop’s battery life

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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.”

According to the business, Google is actively evaluating a Chromebook feature that could provide significant increases in laptop battery life. A test feature that might be used to reduce the polling of a site’s Javascript was identified by About Chromebooks to be included in the forthcoming developer edition of Chrome OS 105. If you don’t opt in to the developer channels, the new functionality won’t be available on your Chromebook until Chrome 103, which is the release version of Google Chrome.

Highlights

  • 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.

  • 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.”

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