New Chrome feature could give your laptop a huge battery life boost

(Image credit: Future)

An upcoming feature in the Chrome browser could extend the battery life of your laptop by as much as two hours. 

Google is reportedly considering reducing energy usage by turning off unneeded JavaScript timers and trackers when a tab is in the background, as reported by TheWindowsClub (via Engadget). By doing so, Google could improve energy efficiency and significantly extend the battery life of your system. 

A technical document spotted by TheWindowsClub describes how Google limited the Javascript timer to wake up every minute in background tabs. The test was run twice, once with JavaScript timers set to wake every minute and a baseline test with JavaScript always running (as it does now). When implemented with 36 random tabs and one blank foreground tab, Google saved roughly two hours of battery life (8.2 hours vs. 6.3 hours). 

Of course, most Chrome users don't keep a blank tab open in the foreground, so Google reran the test but with a YouTube video playing in fullscreen mode and "Energy Saver" disabled (so the system wouldn't go into sleep mode). The automatic brightness setting was also turned off to account for all variables.

This time, the system lasted for an additional 36 minutes. That might not sound like a huge improvement but it could be the difference between your laptop powering down at the end of a workday or having enough juice for you to keep the charger at home.

For now, the delayed JavaScript timer feature is available as a flag in early Chrome 86 builds, so there is a chance it never sees the light of day. However, Chrome is notorious for being a RAM hog and, as such, not a very efficient browser when compared with Safari or the new Edge. If tinkering with JavaScript timers and trackers has a negligible effect on performance, then it could be a way for Chrome to gain an advantage over the competition. 

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.