Google is looking at dramatically reducing the energy consumption of its Chrome browser by throttling background processes for tabs.

The company is looking at reducing the javascript wake-up timer to 1 minute for tabs which are currently in the background, a move which in some of their test cases improved laptop battery life by 28% (2 hours).

The move would limit javascript in background tabs from engaging in unnecessary tasks such as checking if the scroll position changed, reporting logs and analyzing interactions with ads.

In a test case where Google loaded 36 random background tabs and had a blank foreground tab battery life increased by 28%, and when Google had a 36 random background tabs and a foreground tab playing a YouTube video (a more realistic scenario) battery life still increased 13% (36 minutes) over no throttling.

Safari is already using a 1-minute polling interval, but in case reducing the polling limit causes web app issues, Google is considering activating the new limit only after 5 minutes of inactivity, and are considering letting enterprise users opt-out of the change using a group policy for one year.

Google will also post a message in the DevTools console when a Javascript timer is delayed by more than 5 seconds.

The move is currently in testing in Chrome 86 behind a flag, but it is not certain if it will be rolled out to mainstream users yet.

via TheWindowsClub