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This Google Chrome tweak may dramatically enhance laptop battery life

Whether entirely justified or not, Google Chrome has a reputation as a devourer of laptop battery life. However, a forthcoming tweak might dramatically change that.

Chrome 86 contains an experimental feature that will disable unnecessary JavaScript timers and trackers that often run in background tabs – like those that check the scroll position on the page in an inactive tab.

According to TheWindowsClub, a test carried out by Google developers showed a massive two hour, or 28% improvement in laptop battery life, when the circumstances were favourable. The savings will be consistent across Chrome for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and Chrome OS, according to the report.

It should be said that the conditions outlined in a technical document seen by the site had a whopping 36 tabs running in the background and an empty tab in the foreground, so it’s not likely every day users would see such benefits.

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For example, with a YouTube video running in the foreground tab – representing a more authentic Chrome experience – the battery savings were reduced to 36 minutes (13%). Interestingly though, the document showed Apple’s own Safari browser ahead on battery life savings despite the JavaScript killer being enabled.

Screenshot of a table displaying discharge time durations

So how does Google plan on doing it? Well, for example, if a page is inactive for 5 minutes, Google plans to timeout the JavaScript timers to ensure they stop running and draining battery life.

The feature, which will be accessible via chrome://flags in beta versions and could be available as soon as a default feature within the consumer version of Chrome 86. Right now we’re only in the early build stage, so it’ll be a while yet. Google also hasn’t commented on the reports.

Is Google Chrome still your browser of choice? Or have battery life concerns seen you ditch the app for more efficient rivals? Let us now @trustedreviews on Twitter.

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