Google tests battery-conserving feature perfect for hoarding tabs

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Google is testing a method to boost the battery life of Chromebooks by changing how they work with the Chrome web browser. It’s shaping up to be a potentially attractive update for users who leave a lot of tabs open on their Chromebooks.

Google Chrome currently cuts the CPU time and throttles the CPU load for any tab you haven’t touched or looked at for five minutes. Google calls this “intensive throttling of JavaScript timer wake up,” and it’s supposed to help conserve system battery life. The feature also makes the page wake up once every 60 seconds to check if you’re actively using the tab again.

It seems Google is interested in pushing the idea even further, at least for Chromebook users. About Chromebooks this week spotted a new flag in Chrome OS 105, currently being tested in the dev channel, that changes this five-minute period to 10 seconds.

“This is expected to extended battery life,” the Chrome feature page reads. “An experiment on the Canary and Dev channels did not reveal any regression to our guiding metrics, and there are significant improvements (~10 percent) to CPU time when all tabs are hidden and silent.”

As About Chromebooks pointed out, the expected benefits would grow as more browser tabs are opened. In this scenario, JavaScript code should use 10 percent less energy, but that’s just one of many things that can drain a Chromebook’s battery life at any moment.

This feature is still under development; should it reach the general public, it isn’t expected until Chrome OS 105. Most Chromebooks currently run Chrome OS 103.

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