Chrome 57 saves power and CPU cycles by throttling background tabs

When we wrote about Chrome 56 about six weeks ago, we mentioned that Google was working on aggressively throttling background tabs in order to reduce CPU utilization and power consumption. The company's developers must feel like they've ironed out the kinks, because Chrome 57's headlinining feaure is its ability to "limit average CPU load to 1% of a core if an application uses too much CPU in background." The feature is a big enough deal it warrants its own page on the Chrome blog. The release notes for Chrome 57 don't even mention the new throttling policy, focusing instead on support for new features like CSS Grid Layout and Media Session API.

Chromium developer Alexander Timin notes that the background throttling is bypassed for tabs that play audio or maintain real-time connections like WebSockets or WebRTC. We fully expect writers of intrusive scripts to begin abusing this policy any moment now. Despite the self-imposed limitations on throttling, Timins says the changes lead to "25% fewer busy background tabs." Desktop users get the satisfaction of knowing their precious CPU cycles aren't being wasted, but the changes could lead to tangible increases in battery life for Chrome users on laptops and other mobile devices. 

The CSS grid layout capabilities are intended to let web developers create two-dimensional grid-based page layouts more easily. Interested readers can check out a blog post dedicated solely to that feature. The Media Session API allows mobile web application developers to integrate multimedia content directly into a device's UI, and do things like adding playback controls to the Android notifications panel.

Google's Chrome 57 developer page also mentions smaller changes like the ability to change the color of the input cursor in text boxes. Meanwhile, the Chromium blog has even more information about the new release. Gerbils who've read enough and just want to update can click here to download Chrome 57.

Comments closed
    • UberGerbil
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]the background throttling is bypassed for tabs that play audio or maintain real-time connections like WebSockets or WebRTC. We fully expect writers of intrusive scripts to begin abusing this policy any moment now.[/quote<]Yep. Looks like I'll keep using the Great Suspender extension after all. And keep adding to my hosts file entries for each of the ad distribution domains that don't police autoplay and other obnoxious crap.

    • Flying Fox
    • 3 years ago

    Now, if only memory consumption can be improved. That will be great.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      If you think it’s bad in Chrome, just try using Safari for a while!

      Fresh session of each with no history, only one tab open (TR main page) and Safari is already using ~50% more memory. Click on the same links and load the same content a couple times, and Safari maintains that higher memory usage.

        • DrDominodog51
        • 3 years ago

        What OS X version are you running?

        Under 10.9, Safari uses significantly less than Chrome in my experience.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 3 years ago

          I’m on 10.12.3 (Sierra with the latest updates). I have to stay relatively current with the OS so I can keep Xcode updated.

          • DancinJack
          • 3 years ago

          10.9? You looking to get hacked, or just don’t care?

          Joking, but only partially.

            • DrDominodog51
            • 3 years ago

            I’m would be running 10.6, but I do care [i<]slightly[/i<] about security. My older Macbook Pro has been relegated to being a glorified Wifi to Ethernet bridge anyway because I'm too lazy to bother to fix the issues it has developed with the battery and the OS install.

    • Buub
    • 3 years ago

    This took 57 versions to make it into the product?!

    Should have been there years ago.

      • DPete27
      • 3 years ago

      Completely agree. Seems like a pretty fundamental idea to not continuously update non-active tabs.

        • kn00tcn
        • 3 years ago

        you have to account for use cases that might break due to the throttle

    • Jubijub
    • 3 years ago

    As long as [url<]http://caniuse.com/css-grid/embed[/url<] is like this, nice, but meh

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]The CSS grid layout capabilities are intended to let web developers create two-dimensional grid-based page layouts more easily.[/quote<] [code<] <table> <tr> <td>Been there</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Done That</td> </tr> </table>[/code<]

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      Tables are static. By contrast, you can move these semantic elements around with CSS easily. So when it comes to redesign your page, you can do it solely in CSS. That’s, like, way better than tables.

      Edit: I only know this stuff off the top of my head because I just covered it in one of my stupid classes. There are lots of semantic elements that you can use to redesign pages quickly and easily. Apparently screen readers and other accessibility tools can use those tags to determine if it’s worth dealing with right this moment, too, which is nice for disabled folks. Here’s bit more on the topic. [url<]https://www.w3schools.com/html/html5_semantic_elements.asp[/url<] Some of this stuff (the grid itself) is new, but these semantic things have been around. It should be easy to implement a grid if you so desire.

      • RickyTick
      • 3 years ago

      Tables is the first thing I thought of too, but this is certainly a lot different.

      • morphine
      • 3 years ago

      [code<] <div id="chuckula" class="smartass"> It's not quite the same thing. </div> [/code<]

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        I’m well aware of that, but I still remember that one of the big points of CSS was that it was going to make those bad old table layouts a thing of the past.

        Looking at the browser support for it, where ironically its not very good in mobile browsers where this is supposed to be a big deal, this is still in development.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 3 years ago

          The “point” of CSS is (and as far as I know, always has been) to separate presentation from content. Anything else you might have heard was snake oil posted on sucky web design blogs trying to get people excited.

          The grid is a natural progression of “presentation”. It’s probably overly complex (and it’s definitely not widely supported yet, as you said), but you can do it once in the CSS and skip replicating complex table after complex table in HTML.

          Speaking of web design blogs, here’s one that doesn’t suck and has a good rundown on how to use grids, if someday they ever are supported widely. [url<]https://css-tricks.com/snippets/css/complete-guide-grid/[/url<]

            • Yan
            • 3 years ago

            [quote<] Speaking of web design blogs, here's one that doesn't suck and has a good rundown on how to use grids, if someday they ever are supported widely. [url<]https://css-tricks.com/snippets/css/complete-guide-grid/[/url<] [/quote<] That site is the best example of what's wrong about "optimized for mobile". 🙁

      • Redocbew
      • 3 years ago

      In my opinion, CSS positioning in general still needs a lot of work. I’ll take a feature which improves that over power savings any day.

      • jihadjoe
      • 3 years ago

      I am bothered by the uneven indentation.

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        Are you sure your real name isn’t Guido Van Rossum?

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