Google Chrome 56 Browser Timer To Throttle Resource Hogging Background Pages

No one likes a battery hog, but given its vast feature set and overall performance, most people simply put up with Google Chrome's penchant for attacking system resources. However, Chrome 56 is introducing a new timer to help throttle background pages. The intent of these timers is to improve battery life and overall browser performance.

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How will these timers work? First, each WebView will have a budget for running timers in the background. Once the timer starts, its run time is subtracted from the budget, however, it is important to note that the timer is only able to run if the budget is non-negative. Last, the budget will regenerate at a rate of 0.01 seconds per second. The only pages without an allocated time budget are ones that play audio. Google developers hope that the timers will help users switch seamlessly between web pages while cutting down on excessive background CPU usage.

This is not the first time Google has tried to tackle Chrome’s power consumption. This past October, developers began to optimize Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine so that its parser and compilers made better use of memory, particularly on mobile devices. At the time they were able to reduce peak zone memory consumption by 40 percent. Chrome 55 officially launched this past December and also finally made a major step forward in deprecating support for the much despised Adobe Flash.
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Some web developers, however, are concerned about Chrome’s new timer.’s Samuel Reed argued that web application timers may be delayed by a couple of minutes and affect applications like Slack and Discord. He also contended that background applications can be quite useful and often aid in syncing data and reading delta streams. Another web developer questioned whether some affected sites and services would attempt to skirt around the timers. He argued that some of these sites could try to add in inaudible audio file loops in order to avoid throttling.

Chrome 56 is currently available in beta. The stable version was supposed to be released this month, however, there is no official release date at the moment.