Google's uber-popular web browser, Chrome, has been updated with a memory saver mode. It's a long-awaited feature (opens in new tab) for a browser notorious for gobbling up memory capacity. The update also brings a new energy saver mode, another area in acute need of improvement.
The updates come as part of release 108 of the browser and will be available across Windows, MacOS and ChromeOS in the coming weeks. The memory saver mode is claimed to reduce Chrome's memory footprint by up to 40%.
It's not clear whether Chrome is shutting down the tabs or shunting them into some kind of swap file. Likewise, exactly how Chrome decides which tabs are to be deemed inactive isn't detailed. But Google's blog says that "any inactive tabs will be reloaded when you need them."
The blog also says the feature will be handy for anyone "running other intensive applications, like editing family videos or playing games." Hooray. it will be interesting to see how long "inactive" tabs take to wake up and indeed how and when Google decides to mark any given tab as inactive.
The other major element of the update involves power usage. Anyone with a laptop will know that there's no quicker way to monster your battery than running Chrome with a zillion tabs open. The new Energy Saver mode kicks in when your device battery level reaches 20%, "limiting background activity and visual effects for websites with animations and videos."
Nice, but better all-round energy usage would probably be preferable. After all, once you go below 20%, you're very much on borrowed time.