Chrome on Mac sucks (electrons), says Google, so we'll fix it

Battery gluttony targeted for code-fixes to keep you feeding data to Google for longer

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Mac users will soon be able to run Chrome without watching their battery status fall by the minute, with Google tweaking the code to cut down unnecessary system wake-ups.

The Chocolate Factory's main aim is to stop Chrome being a “battery hog”, according to Peter Kasting.

Kasting, a senior software engineer in the Chrome UI team, writes that Safari “seems to do better” on Macs.

The revisions to the Chrome code-base cover four long-standing complaints about rendering and unnecessary wake-ups.

Rendering priority has been rejigged so that background tabs have a lower priority than foreground tabs. Kasting writes that this can cut the number of idle wake-ups by as much as 50 per cent.

In the second fix, the devs want to remove unnecessary wake-ups for very simple pages. As the original bug report says, merely to open a Google search page Chrome used three times the CPU that Safari needed, because where Safari had nine “timer fires” in 30 seconds, Chrome had 393.

The third and forth fixes address similar issues but on different sites – Capitalone.com and Amazon.

Again, the fixes aim to reduce the number of unnecessary wake-ups when idle, to cut down on CPU usage.

The patches haven't hit the code-base yet but Kasting remarks that “improvements generally move to beta in at most six weeks, then to stable in another six weeks”.

Earlier this month, Google reworked how Chrome handles Flash, again to improve battery life. ®

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