Google’s Chrome browser is, unfortunately, infamous for sucking up system resources and, on laptops, killing the battery pretty quickly. Google, however, is working on changing that reputation. A new feature in development will reportedly deliver considerable improvements to Google Chrome’s battery usage.

TheWindowsClub recently obtained technical documents from Google which detail a new feature in development. Starting with Chrome 86, Google will apparently deliver a new flag in Chrome which will limit the JavaScript timer wakeups on background pages. Apparently, Google would limit that to just 1 per minute, just like Apple’s Safari browser does.

That seems like a small tweak, but it has big implications for battery life used by Google Chrome. In a test, a laptop which, presumably, was a Macbook discharged in 6.4 hours while browsing in Chrome. That same laptop discharged in 9.3 hours using Safari. After enabling this new feature which limits JavaScript wakeups, it was found that the laptop would last 8.2 hours — nearly 2 hours more than Chrome in its current state.

In that test above, Google had a single blank tab open in the foreground with 36 tabs open in the background. In another test, results seen below, Google was playing a YouTube video in fullscreen with a handful of background tabs behind it. The results there were less impressive, but still added a fair bit of runtime to the device. Both energy saver and auto-brightness settings were also turned off to eliminate variables in the process.

It’s important to take this with a grain of salt on the numbers, though — we’re not totally sure of the track record at play here. Still, if true this could mean big things for Google Chrome on laptops. Right now, Microsoft Edge and Safari both have legitimate battery savings that make it worthwhile to switch from Chrome on your mobile machine. This tweak, though, could change that conversation for a lot of people.

Apparently, Chrome Enterprise users would be able to opt-out of this feature once it becomes the default behavior, but that would only last one year.

In the meantime, the flag that powers this feature is already live in Google Chrome v86 which has rolled out to the Canary track.

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