Whatever the relative merits of the various browser options, there’s one big advantage that Apple’s homegrown Safari has over most of the competition – using it as your browser can have a significant positive impact in terms of battery life on portable Macs. Now, Google is hoping to close that gap with upcoming changes to Chrome.
Chrome already got a new feature that can disable crappy Flash ads and win you back some battery cycles, but there’s more in the pipeline. Per senior Chrome engineer Peter Kasting outlining future steps on Google+, we’re going to see changes to the way Chrome handles rendering of background tabs (i.e., the ones you aren’t immediately looking at), and eking out some minor but important gains in the CPU efficiency of searching with Google.
There’s a lot more going on, most of which is designed to help Chrome match or approach CPU efficiency found in Safari. Kasting even goes so far as to say the Chrome team has “no intention of sitting idly by (pun intended) when our users are suffering.” Groaning about Chrome’s efficiency cost in the Mac power user realm is indeed quite common, but it’s interesting to see Google so on the nose about the issue.
This is coming to the Chrome beta channel in a little over a month, which means general release probably a few months down the road. I’ve pretty much converted to Safari full-time at this point, but I’m definitely interested in seeing what a more battery-friendly Chrome has to offer.