Microsoft Continues Google Chrome Assault, Blasts Browser’s Claimed Efficiency Gains

edge tests
Over the past few months, Microsoft has attacked Google Chrome for its propensity to chew through notebook batteries at a rapid pace. Any enthusiast that uses Chrome on a regular basis (and that includes the majority of the computing populace) knows that the browser is a resource hog, but Microsoft has been looking to spread the word around in an effort to prop up its competing Edge browser in Windows 10.

After sitting on the sidelines while Microsoft pummeled Chrome in benchmark after benchmark, Google finally responded with the release of Chrome 53. Using Microsoft’s Surface Books as benchmark machines, Google proclaimed that in the past year it has made a 15 percent gain in performance with Chrome, while at the same time eking out more than 2 hours of additional battery life in browsing tests in Chrome 53 versus Chrome 46.

fig 2 efficiency

Microsoft, naturally, wasn’t very impressed with Google’s tests, and takes particular interest in the fact that no other browsers were included for comparison. So Microsoft once again brought out its Surface Book test machines and its stopwatch to compare Edge to Chrome, Firefox, and Opera (all competing browsers were tested using their most recent, stable versions). 

In a Netflix streaming video test, Edge was able to last 8 hours and 47 minutes compared to 6 hours and 3 minutes for Chrome. Opera put up the best fight with 7 hours and 8 minutes, while Firefox trailed the pack, throwing in the towel after 5 hours and 11 minutes. Microsoft showcased further testing in Vimeo, which also showed Edge coming out on top of Chrome. However, the difference between the two browsers was whittled down to just over an hour.

Microsoft specifically called out the Chrome team, writing, “Because the format was so similar to our tests, we shot a second video to compare like for like, this time using their methodology: looping the same video from Vimeo, instead of Netflix.

fig 3 measurements

“In this test, Microsoft Edge lasted even longer – more than 13 hours! – and still beats Chrome by more than an hour. Microsoft Edge even lasted 62% longer – more than five hours! – when compared to Firefox.”

Needless to say, Microsoft still holds the edge in browser performance within Windows 10 — after all, the company knows the operating system better than anyone else. But Google is slowly starting to close the gap and is working overtime to fight back against its battery demons. It may still take a while for Google to finally optimize its code enough to match Edge blow for blow, and when that time comes, we have the feeling that these Edge updates from Microsoft will suddenly fall silent.