Google Chrome upgrade promises big battery life boost for MacBooks

Google Chrome
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Google Chrome on MacBooks and Macs, as well as other devices, will be getting much better in the near future thanks to improved power efficiency.

We know this thanks to a report by Joanna Stern at The Wall Street Journal. The report looks into the flaws of the popular browser, (and suggests moving to either Safari or Edge depending on if you're a Mac or Windows user), but the WSJ also spoke to Google about what it plans to do to fix these well-observed problems.

The problem Chrome users face is that ads and inactive tabs can take up an unnecessary amount of power, both in terms of battery life and RAM processing. But Google's developers have been working on fixing this. Speaking to the WSJ, Google's director of Chrome browser engineering, Max Christoff said “I view performance on Chrome as a journey not a destination. 

“This is an ongoing investment in improvements to speed, performance and battery life.”

Google Chrome's three big improvements

Christoff says Google is working on three big upgrades to Chrome.

  • Chrome will soon be updated to limit the power that resource-heavy ads can consume.
  • A new optimization will allow the most performance-critical parts of Chrome to run even faster.
  • Chrome will improve “tab throttling” by better prioritizing active tabs and limiting resource drain from tabs in the background. 

Christoff claims these changes will have a “dramatic impact on battery and performance.” He also said that he is encouraged by early tests on Mac laptops.

Google can't make this move soon enough. Apple is making big efforts in improving Safari. One of these upcoming changes is allowing developers to easily turn browser extensions designed from Chrome into Safari-compatible ones, meaning that users will have one fewer reason to use Google's browser over Apple's. 

And the new Edge browser, based on Chromium, is getting quite positive reviews. And the WSJ found that it offers better battery life than Google's Chrome. So the pressure is on Google to make these changes sooner than later as users contemplate switching. 

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.