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Google is improving Chrome battery life by throttling background tabs

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Microsoft kicked off a battery life war with Google’s Chrome browser last year, and Google has been responding ever since. While Chrome 53 initially marked an improvement for battery life, Google is releasing Chrome 57 this week with further power reductions. Google claims background tabs “consume a third of Chrome's power usage on desktop,” so the company is doing something about them.

In the latest 57 release, Chrome will now throttle background tabs using excessive power. While Chrome has been throttling background tabs for years, the latest update will throttle tabs to limit the average CPU load to 1 percent. Tabs that play audio or use real-time connections won’t be affected by the changes. Google isn’t revealing exactly how much battery life will be saved through this new method, but the company claims the throttling will lead to 25 percent fewer busy background tabs.

Google promises to “continue to take steps in this direction to prolong users' battery life” in future Chrome releases, so we might be heading to an era where Chrome is no longer the battery hog it once was.