Last month we began to see some of the work Google is doing to improve battery and performance on Chrome and ChromeOS. This came in the form of an experimental flag, which enables a feature called “Quick intensive throttling after loading.” The feature would reportedly activate intensive throttling after 10 seconds instead of the default 5 minutes when a page is backgrounded to not being used in a while. Limiting these wake-ups is said to extend battery life by about 10% when all tabs are hidden and silent.
We now see Google doing more work in that space with the introduction of a new “Performance” page, which will have toggles to turn on “High-Efficiency Mode” and “Battery Saver Mode.” This discovery was made by u/Leopeva64-2, who noticed a new flag in Chrome Canary and code in the Chromium Gerrit with more information about these two new modes.
“High-Efficiency mode,” which will be aptly named “Snooze tabs,” will discard tabs after they have been in the background for the time specified. The time specified in the flag options is 5 seconds, 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 1 hour. However, enabling that flag now in Canary doesn’t make the toggle available yet in Settings, so we can’t tell if this option will appear as part of it. Also, it will be possible to add URLs to an exception list so that this rule doesn’t affect them and discard their tabs.
As far as “Battery Saver mode,” the feature is said to “make it so that frame rate is throttled to lower power consumption,” which sounds similar to the “Quick intensive throttling after loading,” while not exactly the same. Battery saver will have four options, which are:
• BatterySaverModeDisabled (0): ‘Battery Saver Mode will be disabled.
• BatterySaverModeEnabledBelowThreshold (1): Battery Saver Mode will be enabled when the device is on battery power and battery level is low.
• BatterySaverModeEnabledOnBattery (2): Battery Saver Mode will be enabled when the device is on battery power.
• BatterySaverModeEnabled (3): Battery Saver Mode will always be enabled.Source: u/Leopeva64-2
Meanwhile, since a UI for these toggles is not yet available and the Chrome team needs a way to test them, the toggles have been added to the chrome://discards page. There you can urgently discard a tab or turn on/off either of the aforementioned modes, the latter appearing in Chrome Stable but not working yet.
We will have to wait and see how these new toggles affect day-to-day Chrome usage. Chrome has long suffered from performance issues due to its impact on a system’s RAM and CPU resources, and users have had to deal with it. Thankfully with these new options, users can test if they actually improve the experience and help Google determine if they should be mainstays in Chrome settings.