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Google: Chrome browser battery usage on Mac laptops down a third, speeds up 15 percent

Mac owners have long complained that Google’s Chrome browser is often clunky, and eats up battery power way too quickly. Google is responding to those complaints, saying the latest version of its browser for the platform is far quicker and more battery-friendly than versions just a year ago.

To be fair, these issues are not limited to the Mac platform. Windows and Android versions have had similar problems, although it seems like it’s just a bit more pronounced in Mac OS. With Chrome 53 — publicly released last week — battery usage should be down a third on Mac laptops, with a general 15-percent improvement in speed across all platforms since last year.

The most visible enhancements will be to page scrolling and video and image rendering. More efficient methods have made it possible to extend video playback on Windows 10 machines by two hours since Chrome 46 (released in October 2015). The company says that in particular, you’ll get better performance and battery life when using streaming video sites — important considering an ever bigger portion of the digital video we consume is streamed.

Related: The 25 best Google Chrome extensions

In addition to making the browser itself speedier from a rendering perspective, Google is also starting to roll out functionality intended to make the process of web browsing faster as well. New payment functionality like Android Pay stores your credit card data securely and allow you to check out of websites quicker, with support for the PaymentRequest web standard to be rolled out across other platforms in the near future.

“Speed has always been a priority for Chrome. People spend so much time in the browser that even tiny page delays can add up to minutes of lost time every day,” Google’s Chris Cameron wrote in a blog post.

There’s one big power and performance drain that still remains supported (at least for now), and that’s Flash. That’s not for too much longer though: Google already has started to block about 90 percent of “background Flash” with this release of Chrome, however with Chrome 55 due in December, the once de-facto web standard will be blocked by default.

Maybe then, we’ll see even more good news on the Chrome battery life and performance front, given Flash’s bad reputation as a resource and battery hog.