Chrome to Test Ways in Using Less CPU, Battery

John Lister's picture

Google is experimenting with a way to make Chrome use less power when a laptop battery is starting to run out. But it will rely on website owners to make it happen.

The test is of a "Battery-Savings Meta Tag" which can be added to a website's code and will include battery saving recommendations specific to that site. These would then kick in whenever the computer is at a particular battery level.

The idea is to avoid having Chrome itself simply take blanket measures that might not be appropriate for all websites.

Video Frame Rate Lowered

One of the examples Google gives is for a tag to say the site would prefer Chrome to reduce the frame rate of streaming video in a low battery situation - or rather, to request a lower frame rate version of the content. That would mean that Chrome deal with less video data and thus use less processing power and not drain batteries as much.

Another suggested option is to run scripts more slowly or as a lower priority. A script is a piece of code on a site that allows a web page to do something other than simply display static content, for example: to update a web page in response to user activity or to allow the user to enter and send text in a form.

Google says one example of when this might be useful is a video conferencing site that could suggest switching to a battery saving mode even when the device isn't yet close to empty. That's because there's a good chance somebody will use such a site for an extended period. (Source:

Google May Be Helping Self

Some more cynical sources suggest the idea isn't just about helping users avoid unwanted shutdowns. Instead, it may be a way to get round Chrome earning a reputation for using an excessive amount of processing power and thus draining batter quickly. (Source:

That in turn could put people off using Chrome on a laptop and getting in the habit of trying and relying on rival browsers.

What's Your Opinion?

Does this sound like a sensible idea? Do you think website owners will bother using this tag? Do you use Chrome and if so do you find it uses up battery life too quickly?

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Average: 5 (4 votes)


buzzallnight's picture

User Interface sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Give us a drop down menu bar for all settings
and a status bar with the zoom on it
because you really have to fiddle with zoom on different sites with Chrome.
I really hate to say this but even M$ Edge doesn't suck quite as bad as Chrome....

David's picture

Don't check the battery level and always block power-draining content, giving the choice to enable it to the individual user. Advertisers can learn: use ads that are more content-friendly, or their ads will not be seen. Websites can learn: only allow content-friendly ads, or their revenues from advertising goes down. Google can learn: quit making browsers that are so power-hungry to begin with. All three want their ads to be seen, but the more intrusive and abusive they get the more likely they are to be blocked outright. (See any flash banner ads lately???)

Draq's picture

It's up to website creators to design well-written websites, but it's also up to software engineers to write browsers that don't hog resources in the first place.