Chrome has long had a reputation – one that’s well-justified – for being something of a resource hog. Anyone who has opened several tabs in the browser will have noticed how much memory it sucks up. Google has taken some steps to improve things, and now it seems that the company is turning its attention to the browser’s power consumption.
Recognizing that battery life is an issue for laptop users who are away from a source of power, Google is experimenting with new settings that will enable websites to activate power-saving options.
Experimentation is currently in the very early stages and it is not yet even available in the Beta or Canary builds of the browser. Instead, Google is running a trial for Battery Savings meta tags through its Chrome Origin Trials program for developers.
The description for the trial explains that the new feature is “a meta tag allowing a site to recommend measures for the user agent to apply in order to save battery life and optimize CPU usage”. This means that websites will be able to react to low battery levels in much the same way phones and laptops can automatically enter a battery-saving mode.
What this means in practice is that sites will be able to do things such as reduce the frame rate of videos to try to eek a little more life out of a dying battery. Other suggestions revealed in an explainer post on GitHub include running scripts more slowly or at a lower priority
For developers who register to take part in the Battery Savings Meta trial, the battery-saving feature is available in Chrome 86 and 87. But with the trial set to run until January 13 2021, it could be quite some time before the average user gets to feel the benefits.
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