Google releases new version of Chrome

Google has released a new version of Chrome that it claims will make your browser faster and give your laptop battery extra life.

Chrome is the world’s most-used browser, but it ain’t perfect. All those nifty Chrome extensions and useful background apps take up a tremendous amount of your computer or smartphone’s memory, slowing them down in the process. And Chrome guzzles power from your laptop or phone battery.

So Google sought to address both those gripes in its latest Chrome update this week.

To fix the speed issue, Chrome will now look for data no longer being used that’s just sitting in your computer’s memory. When the time is right, Chrome will take out the garbage (believe it or not, that’s actually the computer science term for what the new version of Chrome is doing).

Google had already been doing some garbage collecting in previous versions of Chrome. But now, it will wait until Web pages are finished loading and completely idle — then it will “aggressively clean up old, unused memory.”

By waiting until a page is idle until it drops the hammer on unused memory, Google says that Web pages will perform faster. Previous versions of Chrome took out the garbage at random times, sometimes in the middle of an animation or video. (Ever notice an animation just stop for a second? Your browser might have been emptying the garbage.)

The new feature will reduce memory usage by 10% on average and up to 45% in some cases, Google said in a blog post.

Also, if you set Chrome to automatically restore the tabs you were using when you last closed your browser, Google will now check your system’s memory before reloading all of your previously used tabs. That will save some of your system’s memory too, Google said.

In addition to all the memory savings, Chrome will also spare your smartphone or laptop’s battery consumption. By automatically pausing Flash animations that aren’t crucial to a website’s operations (basically anything that’s not a video), Google believes it can save up to 15% of your battery life.

The 15% figure comes from Google’s lab tests, but the company said your total battery savings will depend on a number of factors, including which operating system you use and how much Flash content is on the websites you visit.

Google says it will turn on that feature for all users over the next few weeks.

Chrome updates are typically not big news, since Google launches a new version of Chrome every six weeks or so (we’re up to Chrome 45, for heaven’s sake). But this particular update is chock-full of good news for customers.

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