Microsoft Could Improve Google Chrome

John Lister's picture

The Chrome browser may soon put less drain on processors and battery life in Windows 10. Perhaps surprisingly, that's because of changes made by Microsoft rather than Google.

The relevant tweaks were discovered by Microsoft as part of its work to rebuild the Edge browser that comes with Windows 10. Originally it ran on Microsoft code, but the new version of Edge is now based on Chromium. For those unaware, Chromium is an open source project, which is the basis of Google's Chrome browser.

Microsoft found one cause of battery drain was disk caching during online video playback. In simple terms, it means the computer continually downloads a small section of video that's just ahead of the part that's currently streaming.

If there's a glitch in the Internet connection, the browser can switch to playing from the downloaded data until the connection is back online. If the glitch is short enough - and the downloaded section long enough - the viewer shouldn't see any interruption.

New Code Checks For Battery Use

Microsoft felt some of this disk caching was unnecessary when weighed against the fact it means the hard drive has to be continually active. That's particularly bad news when it comes to battery life on laptops.

The solution was incredibly simple: Microsoft simply added a section of code that checks if a device is running on battery or is connected to a power outlet. If it's on battery, the browser minimizes the disk caching. (Source:

Another section of code added by Microsoft works in all cases. Simply put, it makes sure the amount of data the browser plans to download in one go as part of the caching doesn't exceed what the browser can actually handle. That removes wasted downloading and caching.

Google Could Adopt Changes

In both cases, Microsoft has not only added the new code to Edge, but has shared it through the open source Chromium project. That means Google has the option to incorporate it into Chrome. Google says it will indeed experiment with the code.

If successful, the changes will most likely be added to Chrome Canary, which is a test version of Chrome where more confident users can trial potential changes and new features before they are released to a new edition of Chrome that is used by the general public. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Is it good news to see Microsoft and Google effectively collaborating thanks to open source projects? Should browser developers and operating system makers work together more closely? Do you find Chrome drains battery too quickly on laptops?

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dschiffler_13235's picture

Was Google running too good? with every update MS puts out more things don't work, lets just hope the same doesn't apply to google now that MS has their hand in the pie

Gurugabe's picture

Google "owns" Chromium and they have the final say in what goes in or not so it is not like Microsoft can sabotage the project. In the past, when the giants of tech got together on a project, one of them always held an Ace up their sleeve that caused strife in that project and it would ultimately go away. That being said, IT Admins are now finding out that in one of the near releases of Office 365, the installer will include an extension that will install itself to Chrome and set your default search engine to Bing provided your Chrome default search engine is not already Bing.