Chrome killing your Mac's battery? Google's working on it

Run a battery test on your Mac with Chrome and you'll see less run time than if you did the same with Safari. Little by little though, Google is chipping away at Safari's advantage.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

One of the first things I look at in any review of a Mac laptop is what browser was used for the battery life tests.

Why? Because those that run browsing loops with Google Chrome almost always cause the battery to run down faster. I've seen some tests show one to two hours less run time on a charge when that test uses Chrome instead of Safari.

Google knows this and it's actively working to better optimize Chrome on OS X to make its browser more power efficient on Macs, notes BetaNews.

The site caught a Google+ post from a Chrome developer that points out four recent code tweaks in Chrome that make it perform more comparably to Apple's own browser.

Here's one example:

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.

Granted, dropping from 0.3 percent of CPU use for an activity to 0.1 percent is a small efficiency gain. A few tenths here and there over many features, functions and interactions can add up quickly, however.

Google may never get Chrome to be as efficient on Mac hardware as Apple does with Safari.

Apple has complete control over its hardware and software, so it can get them working together efficiently like nobody else; it's a key advantage for the company.

Google uses that same advantage with the Chromebook Pixel 2 where I routinely get 12 hours on a charge for a laptop that's essentially built around the Chrome browser.

But if you've written Chrome for Mac off in the past because of its inefficiencies -- and you've admittedly had good reason to -- keep an eye on future Chrome builds.

It's clear that Google knows it has room for improvement here and it's taking steps to make Chrome more efficient for Macs.

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