Microsoft is well aware and rightly concerned about the common complaints with Google Chrome. Interestingly, after adopting the Chromium base for its Edge browser, the Windows OS and MS Office maker has been quite active in addressing several core issues that laptop and notebook users face while surfing the internet. The latest fix issued by Microsoft successfully addresses the problem of faster battery drain while using Google Chrome web browser.
Microsoft has been continually claiming that its Edge browser is routinely tweaked and that it is way friendlier to a laptop’s battery than Google Chrome web browser. In addition to the multiple tweaks for the Edge browser, Microsoft is now backing the same with its very own Windows-level power management experience. Interestingly, the fix is already present in the Edge browser, but it will certainly impact positively on Google Chrome’s battery efficiency.
Microsoft Introduces Fix To Address Google Chrome Excessive Battery Consumption Via Chromium Project Commit:
Microsoft intends to reduce Chrome’s battery consumption by avoiding unnecessary ‘Media Caching’ by the web browser, noted Shawn Pickett, a senior software engineer at Microsoft. “Today, media content is cached to disk during acquisition and playback. Keeping the disk active during this process increases power consumption in general, and can also prevent certain lower-power modes from being engaged in the operating system. Since media consumption is a high-usage scenario, this extra power usage has a negative impact on battery life. This change will prevent the caching of certain media content to disk for the purpose of improving device battery life for users.”
In addition to stressing the hardware unnecessarily, the media caching usually tends to prevent certain lower-power modes from being engaged in the operation system. Simply put, Google Chrome’s behavior and media handling processes keep the laptops and notebooks needlessly engaged in high power-consumption mode.
Google Chrome killing your device's battery life? This Microsoft fix will help https://t.co/qpL5to56gn
— ZDNet (@ZDNet) August 19, 2019
Microsoft’s proposal is rather straightforward. Pickett suggests Chromium should “prevent streaming media content from being cached to disk where possible.” He mentioned that the proposal is targeted at media streaming use scenarios wherein the user is watching content and occasionally going back to review. “For these scenarios, there is no drawback in disabling the disk caching. Since the existing Media Source implementation already maintains the most recent content in memory, the user will still be able to engage in common scenarios such as scrubbing backward a couple of seconds during playback without needing to reacquire the content from the network. The existing seek responsiveness will be maintained in these cases.”
Interestingly, in addition to reducing the battery drain while using Google Chrome on laptops and notebooks, Microsoft’s fix will also improve battery backup time, and even a noticeable bump in performance or response. The company claims the fix will “reduce the impact on functions that may rely on on-disk caching.” In other words, users could notice their portable devices are quick to respond to rewinding or forwarding the video clip. This is simply because the actions will be dynamic and instant, without being dragged down by disk caching.
Google Accepts Microsoft’s Fix To Reduce Battery Drain While Using Chrome Browser?
It appears Google has accepted the new methodology to handle media while it is being streamed to reduce the impact on battery. A Google engineer noted the change adopted “will prevent the caching of certain media content to disk for the purpose of improving device battery life for users.” The search giant has reportedly even added a flag “Turn off caching of streaming media to disk” to the Canary build of Chrome for macOS, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android. The flag’s description acknowledges the positive impact: “Reduces disk activity during media playback, which can result in power savings.”
To prove the fix actually reduces power consumption and improves the response time of streaming content, Microsoft streamed 1080p media content on a laptop that was disconnected from a power source. According to the internally conducted study, the fix showed a 62mW improvement and disk write activity also decreased by 309KB/sec. Microsoft is confident that the overall impact will offer a ‘net positive result’ and reduce power consumption for ‘mainline scenarios’.
Microsoft has always boasted that Edge was more friendly to a laptop's battery than Chrome. Now the company has brought its Windows-level power management experience to the table via a fix to the Chromium project.https://t.co/B5MrT0Lhad pic.twitter.com/7Gi4uDPeCd
— AlternativeTo (@AlternativeTo) August 19, 2019
Microsoft’s adoption of Chromium base for its Edge web browser has already started to show positive results. The company has been working hard to boost the adoption of its products and services. But such fixes benefit all Chromium-based browsers and offer a noticeable positive impact on laptops and notebooks running Windows 10 OS. It is, however, important to note that the benefits of the new fix would go to users who have access to reliable high-speed internet.