A flaw in Google Chrome has been draining the battery life of Windows laptops and tablets by making the CPU work much harder than it has to, and it has been doing so for quite a while.
When a machine is idle with Chrome left open, the browser’s bug forces the processor to wake up as often as 1,000 times per second. By comparison, Windows would only force a CPU to do that 64 times per second. Perhaps even more frustrating is the fact that this flaw has been known about since 2010. Keep in mind that the issue is specific to Windows-based devices, so if you’re using Chrome on a MacBook or Chromebook, you’re in the clear.
This bug report says that Google Chrome “has no system clock tick interval management. Just increases it and keeps forever.” It even cites Microsoft documentation which says that increasing the system clock tick interval is a bad idea when it comes to preserving as much battery life as possible.
“If the system timer interval is decreased to less than the default, including when an application calls timeBeginPeriod with a resolution of 1 ms, low-power idle states are ineffective at reducing system power consumption and system battery life suffers,” a Microsoft page states. “System battery life can be reduced as much as 25 percent, depending on the hardware platform.”
Thankfully, Google is already at work on a fix for the bug. However, it’s unclear when it will be rolled out.
In the meantime, if you’re using a Windows laptop or tablet and you value its battery life, you might want to temporarily switch to another Web browser like Opera, Firefox, or Internet Explorer.