Google working on improvements to address Chrome’s battery hog complaints on Mac, aims to bring it on par with Safari


There is little denying the fact that Chrome has become a resource hogging browser on all platforms. This is clearly evident on OS X where MacBook owners can get significantly better battery life by switching to Safari.

Google has been making improvements to Chrome to make it as power and resource efficient as Safari. One such move from the Chrome team was to automatically pause all flash content in a web page until the user is looking at it.

Now, Peter Kasting, one of the developers of Chrome over at Google, has revealed that the team is working to make the browser as battery efficient on OS X as Safari. He has posted some detailed comparisons of the under the hood changes made in Chrome to make it more battery efficient. The improvements made to Chrome put it at the same level as Safari in terms of CPU and battery efficiency in certain scenarios.

The team has been working on addressing this; here are some cases that have recently been improved on trunk:

Before: Renderers for background tabs had the same priority as for foreground tabs.
Now: Renderers for background tabs get a lower priority, reducing idle wakeups on various perf test, in some cases by significant amounts (e.g. 50% on one test).

Before: On a Google search results page, using Safari’s user agent to get the same content that Safari would, Chrome incurs ~390 wakes over 30s and 0.3% CPU usage vs. Safari’s 120 wakes over 30s and 0.1% CPU usage.
Now: 66% reduction in both timer firings and CPU use. Chrome is now incurring ~120 wakes over 30s and 0.1% CPU use, on par with Safari.

Before: On, Chromium incurs ~1010 wakeups over 30s vs. Safari’s ~490 wakes.
Now: ~30% reduction in timer firings. Chrome is now incurring ~721 wakeups over 30s.

Before: On, Chromium incurs 768 wakups over 30s and consumes ~0.7% CPU vs. Safari’s 312 wakes over 30s and ~0.1% CPU.
Now: ~59% reduction in timer firings and ~70% reduction in CPU use. Chrome is now incurring ~316 wakeups over 30s, and 0.2% CPU use, on par with Safari at 312 wakes, and 0.1% CPU use.

Kasting also reassures that the Chrome team is working hard on making Chrome more power efficient, and is not sitting idle and letting its users suffer.

While these improvements will not bring Chrome’s battery and power efficiency to the same level as Safari, they will at least lead to some improvement in the battery life department. As a Chrome user, it is at least great to know that the Chrome team over at Google knows about these issues and is working on fixing them.

[Via +Peter Kasting]