Google has big plans to tame Chrome on Macs

Google is hard at work giving Chrome a Mac makeover, finally waking up to complaints that the browser is a resource hog in OS X. While Chrome may be capable, especially when outfitted with one or more plugins from the well-stocked Extensions store, it's also become notorious for hammering battery life on Mac notebooks, and generally consuming more than its fair share of system resources.

"One of the big complaints about Chrome currently is that it's a battery hog, especially on Mac where Safari seems to do better," Peter Kasting, senior software engineer on the Chrome UI team, wrote recently on Google+. "The team has been working on addressing this."

Kasting goes on to identify four different issues that have been ironed out in Chrome.

For instance, previously Chrome would treat background tabs as the same rendering priority as foreground tabs, needlessly chomping through processor cycles for something that was probably invisible to the user. Google changed that to a lower priority, cutting the number of idle wakeups in the app.

On two test websites, meanwhile, Chrome would wake more than twice as many times as Safari, Google discovered, and use as much as seven times the processor capacity as Apple's browser. That, too, has been addressed, and even Google's own search results page is less system-intensive.

Earlier this month, Google announced it was working with Adobe to trim Flash's impact on Chrome, using smart plugin pausing to try to minimize extraneous video and animation loads.

The first fruits of the improvements will likely be tested out in Google's developer builds before reaching the main Chrome release. "You should expect us to continually improve," Kasting promises.

SOURCE Peter Kasting