Google Chrome will pause 'non-essential' Flash content to save your battery life

Google has teamed up with Adobe to make Chrome's Flash handling a bit more battery friendly.

Chrome may be hugely popular with ZDNet readers, but even the most dedicated user would have to admit that the Google browser can have a negative impact on their laptop's power consumption.

Google this week made steps to remedy the problem by taking a new stance on how Flash elements on web pages are delivered. The search giant has developed a smart approach that will see Chrome automatically pause "non-essential" Flash content while still playing the stuff users want.

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Tommy Li, a software engineer and power conservationist at Google, wrote in a blog post on Thursday that the search giant has been working with Adobe on an update to Chrome designed to make the browser more power efficient.

The beta update will "intelligently pause" content that's not "central" to the page, such as Flash animations, while still playing key content, such as the video you visited the page to watch.

"Adobe Flash allows web pages to display rich content -- but sometimes that can put a squeeze on your laptop's battery. This update significantly reduces power consumption, allowing you to surf the web longer before having to hunt for a power outlet," Li wrote.

In the event the "intelligent pausing" blocks something a user wanted to see, they can click on the content and it will start playing again.

The feature will start rolling out to the desktop version of Chrome soon, Li said, and is already switched on by default in the latest beta release, published on Thursday.

The same functionality can also be turned on in other Chrome versions by tinkering with the settings: users need to open up their 'settings' menu, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on 'show advanced settings', then click on the 'content settings' button, find 'plugins', and choose the 'detect and run important plugin content option'.

Once that's enabled, Chrome should stop sucking up so much power, according to Google.

"We'll be rolling out more power improvements in the coming months," Li added.

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