Chrome 57 Reduces Desktop Power Consumption By Throttling Background Tabs

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Version 57 of the desktop Chrome web browser includes a new CPU throttling feature that Google says will lead to 25 percent fewer busy background tabs and help reduce overall power consumption.

Charges that Chrome is a battery hog have long dogged Google's browser, leading the company to make efficient power usage a key pillar in its long-term development strategy for the software. Throttling background tabs by limiting Javascript timers is the latest attempt by Google to improve the browser's reputation.


Javascript timers are often used by news sites and social media networks to update web page content in tabs, which uses up valuable CPU cycles. From version 57 of the browser, Chrome will delay timers in individual background tabs if their power usage oversteps the mark. Tabs that play audio or use real-time connections won't be affected, however.

Chrome has focused on improving the user experience by throttling tab performance for many years. Like many browsers, Chrome has limited timers in the background to only run once per second. Via the new throttling policy, Chrome 57 will delay timers to limit average CPU load to 1% of a core if an application uses too much CPU in background. Tabs playing audio or maintaining real-time connections like WebSockets or WebRTC won’t be affected.

According to Google, the new throttling mechanism leads to fewer busy background tabs, which typically consume a third of Chrome's power usage on desktop computers. In the long term, Google aims to fully suspend timers in background tabs and instead rely on new APIs to do the work instead.

Chrome 57 is available to download for Mac users now. Existing users can update by selecting Chrome -> Preferences via the menu bar and clicking the About section. Users downloading Chrome for the first time will automatically receive the updated version from the Chrome download page. An update for the iOS browser app has also been released with a new Read Later option.

Tags: Google, Chrome

Top Rated Comments

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46 months ago
What about throttling its memory hogging issues. I have to use chrome at work and with 16GB of ram I still get out of memory warnings on my Mac. There are dozens of "helpers" running in memory at 100-600MB a piece. How is that ok?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
Sounds that they only apply a bandage without actually fixing the problem of high power consumption. Perhaps they should remove all the spy-ware from the browser :).
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago

What's your browser league table, and why?

On Mac and iOS safari gives me no problems so I use them. At work on Windows I use Chrome. What am I missing out on?

Chrome across the board. It travels nicely no matter the device or ecosystem. Makes my life easier.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago

What about throttling its memory hogging issues. I have to use chrome at work and with 16GB of ram I still get out of memory warnings on my Mac. There are dozens of "helpers" running in memory at 100-600MB a piece. How is that ok?

If you get out of memory warnings it means all of your physical RAM is being used AND your disk is almost full since it writes to Virtual Memory.

:rolleyes:

This is either a lie or you need to reinstall Chrome. I run Chrome just fine on a Macbook Pro with only 8gb RAM and my wife runs Chrome just fine on her Macbook Air with 4gb RAM

Don't call him a lier, I ran out of RAM and I too have 16 GB RAM, any App nowadays runs fine even with a bit less RAM, if it needs more it uses VM and most of Macs today have fast SSD storage so you don't see as much difference, it used to be much slower when Hard disks were used not too long ago and some still have them.


Rubbish, no way you're running out of memory with normal use unless something else is using most of it to start with.

As above, what is normal use to you does not need to be normal use for others.
I myself have more than 30 tabs open at any time, it uses quite a bit RAM, but I have enough, and even when it's full it's not much of a deal nowadays with fast SSD's inside.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
So chrome is a battery and resource hog. Gmail is a battery hog. Android is a battery hog.

I'm noticing a trend here. Does Google not know how to optimize code?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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46 months ago
What's your browser league table, and why?

On Mac and iOS safari gives me no problems so I use them. At work on Windows I use Chrome. What am I missing out on?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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