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Google Chrome just made big changes to save your battery

The notorious battery drain is cleaning up its act

Amid much vocal complaining about Chrome's woeful effect on laptop battery life this year, Google began cleaning up its act with a series of improvements that bolster the browser's performance. Today the company rolled out a new version of Chrome with further improvements oriented around performance, and they promise to make life easier for laptop warriors who regularly find themselves with dozens of open tabs (ahem).

For starters, when you haven't looked at a tab in a few hours — or a few months, in the case of us who are still getting around to reading "What Is Code?" — Google will purge the unused memory occupied by the page, reducing page memory use by 10 percent on average, Google says. "The effect is even more dramatic on complex web apps," the company wrote in a blog post. "With Gmail, for example, we can free up nearly a quarter of the memory used by the tab."

Purging memory used by background tabs

Chrome also now halts Flash animations that aren't "central" to a web page, reducing power consumption. And for those who quit Chrome accidentally or due to a crash, Chrome will now restore your tabs in the order you viewed them: stuff you were just looking at will pop right away, while the 38,000-word essay about the history of software development will be loaded once you're already happily browsing again.

Chrome still has a long way to go before people stop complaining about its effect on battery performance. But today's update shows Google has gotten the message.