I’ve long wondered why laptop browsing battery tests for Chrome have been relatively poor when compared to other browsers. Now I have an idea of why that is, and more importantly, what Google is planning to do about it. One very small change to Chrome OS in the near future could boost the battery life of when browsing on a Chromebook by 28 percent based on internal testing by Google.
Here are the results from some early internal testing using 36 different tabs and sites to represent a beefy browsing experience using Chrome on a Mac.
You can see that in this particular case, battery life via Chrome is much closer to that of Safari.
This change will first be an experimental feature hidden behind a flag that appears to be called “expensive-background-timer-throttling” at the moment. Since this code is still being worked on, that could change by the time implementation rolls around. And since Google likes to provide Chrome Admins with controls in the enterprise, the current plan is to create a new, but temporary, policy to allow administrative control:
If you’re a web developer or simply interested in more of the testing and code details, Google has a publicly available document on its thought process, testing methodology, and implementation plans here.