Chrome may be a great browser, but it has one big flaw, especially on laptops: it’s a battery hog. That is however about to change.
Google has announced that Chrome will take up significantly less battery life in its next update — by limiting how often Adobe Flash is running.
“When you’re on a webpage that runs Flash, we’ll intelligently pause content (like Flash animations) that aren’t central to the webpage, while keeping central content (like a video) playing without interruption,” said Google in a blog post.
“If we accidentally pause something you were interested in, you can just click it to resume playback. This update significantly reduces power consumption, allowing you to surf the web longer before having to hunt for a power outlet.”
The update is available starting June 6 on Chrome’s latest desktop beta channel release, with a stable version expected to be released to the public in the near future. Of course, users can ask Chrome to run all Flash content —simply head to Settings and choose “Run all plugin content.”
The update could be an issue for advertisers who run their ads in Flash. Their ads would essentially not show up — meaning that revenue would be far lower for Flash-based advertising campaigns.Google is however one step ahead, offering tools in AdWords to allow advertisers to convert their ads from Flash to HTML5.
HTML5 is growing increasingly popular for the web, with YouTube announcing earlier this year that it’s now using HTML5 as the default in Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Safari 8 and some beta versions of Firefox. The trend of switching to HTML5 from Flash is expected to continue in the industry as time goes on.
While limiting Flash in Chrome is a welcome move, many are wondering why it took the company so long. It could be that Google had other priorities when it comes to Chrome, such as the recent big Chrome update in iOS. Furthermore, Chrome is also not really in danger of losing customers — many of whom are very loyal if not locked into Google’s ecosystem.
The bottom line is that while Google didn’t have to update Chrome in this way, it is a feature that has long been asked for, and it’s nice to see that Google is listening to the concerns of its users.
Of course, Adobe probably won’t be happy with the decision, despite the fact that Google was working with Adobe for the new feature. This is especially true because Google owns 26 percent of the browser market.