Chrome may soon let websites go into a battery-saving mode

Chrome may have the lion’s share of the web browser market but it’s definitely not for being the most power-efficient option in the market. In fact, Google’s browser has become notorious, both warranted and exaggerated, for quickly draining a laptop’s battery. Google has been trying to fight off that stigma, both in marketing and on a technical level, and an upcoming feature might add to its growing list of battery-saving features that will hopefully keep some websites from draining your battery dry.

To be fair, part of the battery drain blame can be laid on websites themselves, particularly those with wayward use of Javascript and system resources. Google can’t exactly force all these sites to behave properly, at least not yet, and it is Chrome’s responsibility to mitigate the effects of power-hungry sites and web apps instead.

One Chrome experiment revealed last month involved practically putting some web pages to sleep when they’re in the background, throttling Javascript timers that unnecessarily eat up CPU processes and, therefore, battery juice. This time, Google is giving websites the option to “suggest” a power-saving mode that Chrome will use.

How this will work exactly is still unclear but websites can use special codes and tags to signify that they want Chrome to optimize for battery or CPU. This can, for example, allow video conferencing web apps to run for as long as they need but only sip battery power. Chrome can reduce a page’s framerate or slow down running its script to save on CPU cycles and power.

More importantly, however, this new system will also allow web pages to adjust their performance depending on whether the user has switched the operating system to a power-saving mode. This will help make web apps, particularly Progressive Web Apps or PWAs, to become more aware of an OS’ battery modes, and behave more like native apps.

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