Google Chrome 57 Limits Background Tabs to 1% CPU Usage

/ 2 years ago

HTML5 Google Chrome

With the growth in memory and processing power, it’s now common to have multiple browser tabs open. Despite our ever more powerful system, the growth in tabbed browsing can sometimes lead to dramatic performance issues and slowdowns. Last year, Google announced that Chrome would be introducing a feature to limit the performance impact of background tabs. Ahead of schedule, Chrome 57 has integrated a new method to rein in background tabs.

The general gist of the feature is that background tabs will now be limited to using no more than 1% of total CPU time. Going a bit more technical, after a tab is in the background for longer than 10 seconds, it is only allotted a certain budget of CPU time and no more. The budget generates over time at 0.01 second per second which gives us the 1% number. Of course, there are exceptions to this limit. Certain tabs like those playing video and audio as well as real-time work will be exempt and sites can use an opt-out as well.

According to Google, they are seeing about 25% fewer background tab workload. There is still a lot of work to be done, with tweaking to exceptions and the CPU generation time being tweaked depending on real world results. Google also plans to clamp down on exceptions and opt-outs by 2020 and more aggressive tab suspension. There are also plans in the works to bring the feature to mobile Chrome where it is sorely needed. More importantly, the team is looking at purging background tab memory usage which may cut down on the infamous Chrome memory bloat. Of course, if you are one of those with over a 100 tabs, these features still might not be enough to save you from yourself.

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