The Redmond-based company, which based the new version of Edge on the Chromium source code, suggests to Google a much appreciated novelty
The next versions of the Google Chrome web browser (and those derived from the Chromium open source project) could consume less battery, and stress less disk, on laptops. And for this news we have to thank Microsoft that, back in August 2019, had asked Google to make a small change to Chrome's code.
Request made through the "Chromium Gerrit", an online tool that allows developers to participate in the Chromium project and propose changes to the official code. After a few months, Google officially replied that it will implement this change and that, therefore, the next versions of Chrome will be less "heavy" on disk and battery. However, Google has also specified that the new feature will be initially adopted on an experimental basis: only if it will be really effective it will be permanently implemented in the code. But what kind of modification is it? Something extremely trivial.
Why Chrome devours bacteria
Google Chrome has never been a "light" browser: it has always required a lot of system resources and this, by necessity, means that this software heavily impacts battery life. The more RAM used, the more disk accesses and the more power required by the processor, the higher the energy consumption. Among the many features that consume a lot of resources on Chrome there is also the one reported by Microsoft: the caching of streaming videos viewed by the user through the browser. Caching involves saving video data to the computer's disk as it is received.
This way, if the user jumps back and forth in the video, they won't have to download the data again. It works and it's convenient, but considering the large amount of videos that now appear (and play even without explicit user request) on modern web pages this has detrimental effects on resource and battery consumption.
In light of all this Microsoft has made a very simple request: disable video caching when the device is powered by the battery and not connected to the power grid. The code change to implement this feature is really trivial (and Google itself could have thought of it), but until now no one had requested it. Or at least no one "important", like Microsoft. Expect, therefore, in future versions of Chrome the arrival of a switch, somewhere in the settings, which will save us a lot of battery.