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back to article Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS

If you've been wondering why the battery life on your Windows laptop or tablet seems so lousy, your Chrome web browser might be to blame – and it may have been sapping your system's juice for years. A documented bug in the source code for the Chromium open source project seems to account for the mysterious power drain that some …

Headmaster

PC battery? You mean the coin battery backing up the CMOS? Or do you consider the desktop PC dead now and PC means laptop?

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Good, then in your case, artificially driving up the electricity bill...

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Anonymous Coward

My UPS battery is my "PC's battery". The bug would affect that too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I have two 12V cells

I bet you don't, I bet they're batteries of several cells.

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Not really, unless you have a power failure.

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Anonymous Coward

I, personally, am not surprised

Chrome had sucked for years, regardless of the fanboi-level user base. I have complained about it's miserable RAM cache management, even worse than Firefox's (no mean feat), and known for years

http://www.google.com/m?q=chrome%20ram%20usage

as well as the dumbed-down user interface, which is just...dumb.

So now Google, after years of knowing, finally fixes a battery drain issue, a rather important issue in today's mobile world.

Thanks Google. Your browser STILL sucks.

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Re: I, personally, am not surprised

"even worse than Firefox"

Don't be so preposterous. It lowers one's credibility.

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Re: I, personally, am not surprised

Firefox is well-behaved these days regarding memory. Chrome most certainly isn't.

http://www.ghacks.net/2014/01/02/chrome-34-firefox-29-internet-explorer-11-memory-use-2014/

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Meh

Re: I, personally, am not surprised

and yet, per process tabs are not standard....

I have had far fewer crashes with chrome. I keep firefox because I need some plugins to work...

P.

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Re: I, personally, am not surprised

"So now Google, after years of knowing, finally fixes a battery drain issue, a rather important issue in today's mobile world."

One of us has misunderstood the story. From what I read, the bug has not been fixed; it has been assigned to someone to be fixed. So, depending on the person to whom it has been assigned, and the state and severity of their substance abuse problems, it could be another few years before a fix is actually implemented and made available to end-users.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I, personally, am not surprised

> Firefox is well-behaved these days regarding memory. Chrome most certainly isn't.

I must be running a different version to you. Currently I've 9 tabs open and it's consuming more than 1.8GB of RAM. It's barely come down since I closed 10-12 or so others.

I know if I restart it that'll drop down to a few hundred meg.

Been like this as long as I can remember. I always have to restart Firefox every few days to allow it to clean itself up.

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Re: I, personally, am not surprised

Google is awful when it comes to power management. (Putting the stuff from Latitude into Google Play Services has made what was a 4/5 day battery life into about a day and a bit.)

They use the same sort of update mechanisms as malware as well.

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Re: I, personally, am not surprised

Some people only run Firefox for a few hours or so and do not realize how awful it still is at leaking memory when used for days or weeks. Use it without restarting for a week or more, close down all tabs, and it will still be using gigabytes of RAM.

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WTF?

Re: I, personally, am not surprised

I run chrome and chromium (the FOSS version) with many, many 100's of tabs, because if one dies it does not take the ship down with it.

Firefox has improved greatly, but until a broken piece of software does not take down the browser, the only reason I use it is for some plugins that chrome/chromium do not support.

I am well aware they are trying to implement it (electrolysis) but until it is standard and stable, it will continue to be a problem for Firefox stability.

P.

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Re: I, personally, am not surprised

"Firefox is well-behaved these days regarding memory"

I came in to work this morning and found my (Linux) PC almost completely unresponsive.

top showed that Firefox was using 95% of the 12GB ram and, including swap space, a total of 17GB.

So about as well-behaved as a ravenous sabre-toothed tiger.

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Devil

Re: I, personally, am not surprised

Me too, I usually crash out of it as this means I have more chance of being able to choose which windows and tabs to reopen before doing so.

HOWEVER, today I upgraded from 30.0 to 31.0 and on reopening every single window had an additional tab from a company called abine.com offering do not track me add-ons. Closing them in about a third of the windows caused new ones to spawn. Now when tabs are reloaded some of them cause more respawnings. I have alerted Mozilla and requested they remove this crap they have installed.

Oh and now, just like this window, the bottom add-on bar is not there.

At this rate I will be forced back to Safari, oh the horror!

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Meh

Re: I, personally, am not surprised

about:config

right click, >> new >>> Boolean

config.trim_on_minimize

true

open all windows and minimize them, and watch the RAM usage plummet. If you don't leave open web mail tabs, and kill (through Task Manager) the plugin container when not watching videos, you can go up to 100 tabs in bursts, and not have to reload the browser for 9 or 10 days at a time. Running AdBlock also helps.

EDIT: Oh and don't used Firefox. If you have Windows you have the choice of Pale Moon and Waterfox, FF variants reset to having normal behavoiur.

EDIT: SVG support in those, too.

Google is your friend. Well not when they're designing Chrome, but their search engine is still okay.

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Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

I've seen this before. One or another person on an open source dev team decides that something is just "not a problem" and it doesn't matter how many outside people say "WTF?!" No arguments will help to move the issue. In this article's case only shaming the entire team worked.

In my favorite illustration is the "Firefox won't do SVG fonts" issue. Opened in 2002, after ~150 comments it was closed in 2013 with "Oh, poo, implementation of SVG embedded in OpenType fonts will fix your problem." An experimental proposed feature that is still not standardized or accepted by other browsers over a year later.

It didn't even matter when an outside company offered to fund the development of an implementation with their own devs, FF devs simply said "Oh, but SVG fonts are just so ucky!" "Why, you can't even do font hinting with SVG, can you?" So obviously no implementation was ever so much better than a flawed implementation, right?

And the pleas kept coming in, with increasingly exasperated replies of "but you just don't understand our (FF devs) position of 'No'. How rude of you!"

So over 12 years later FF still doesn't have anything to offer and will not be swayed!. A big enough closed-minded open source team will quite well replicate the worst parts of the commercial experience.

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Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

If you are really pissed off by the refusal of Mozilla to implement SVG fonts then the solution is simple...

Fork it and create your own browser with the feature included. If you get enough support then it will become popular and hey, who knows they might include it.

No? Well don't complain about the lack of functionality then.

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Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

Are you saying you can't complain about something unless you're willing to build it yourself?

What a strange concept. Not everyone has the capability, time, or inclination to fork a browser. (Easy though it might be).

Imagine if that line of thinking was applied to everything you use.

'This TV is great apart from the fact that it's filling up my entire room, ideally I'd like a flat TV, but my TV manufacturer says no one needs a flat TV... I know I'll build my own...oh.. I've got a life to be getting on with. I'll just keep quiet and learn to love my room eating monster..'

Innovation must work around what the users want!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=150025 has been open for 12 years. I guess the fix to stop http://localhost redirecting to http://www.localhost.com is just TOO HARD. Or perhaps not a priority. I mean, there's a new interface paradigm to code every two months!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

That isn't a firefox bug. By default, firefox will try to resolve "localhost" and if if fails it will add the www and .com. It does this for any single word you type in. This issue occurs because your PC is not resolving localhost to 127.0.0.1. Fix your PC and that behaviour will stop.

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Mushroom

Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

No? Well don't complain about the lack of functionality then.

Listen up, a*****e!

One of parties involved sits on a stash of a few million bucks of "foundation money" that it is rubbing its body parts all over.

The other does not and probably has a day job.

Care to speak up again?

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Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

Have you tried recently? No matter what port I add to the end of localhost it never tries to go out to localhost.com...

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Unhappy

Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

I feel this is a more general issue and seems to be part of a trend I noticed with projects which are supposedly open to contributions.

These projects have several types of users in terms of the available time they commit to it, but inevitably, there will be at least a few "fanatics" who do not mind the project taking up a huge amount of their time, quickly become leaders and organizers, and are responsible for much of the project's momentum.

Unfortunately, it seems like they are also the very same people who will be responsible for the project's eventual downfall. Why? Simply because, after all the time and work they've put into it, they now feel that the project (or at least a good chunk of it) belongs to them. This is in fact a completely understandable emotion given the circumstances, but also very destructive, since instead of trying to inspect a proposal based on its own merits, they will became increasingly prone to dismissing something which doesn't harmonize with their current "vision" of the project out of hand. This not only discourages other, less "fanatic" contributors, but can also lead to the degradation of the project's overall quality, since, let's face it, even these very smart and talented people can be wrong, but with their status and mindset they can become largely immune to critique.

I've seen this attitude in so many places that it's kind of scary. Firefox and Chrome are an example, but then there's the whole recent Gnome debacle, too. And it's not just about software projects: I feel Wikipedia suffers from the very same problem, with its editors becoming increasingly elitist and seeing new people as more of a hindrance than an asset. Heck, I'm an admin of a smaller wiki too and I've seen the very same effect on myself.

Without wanting to sound overly dramatic, unless we find some kind of solution to this problem, this can eventually have a devastating effect on the open-source community as a whole. :(

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Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

And this si the typical arrogance of Open Source developers. They want people to use their products, but don't want to give users what they want. I've just dropped using Firefox and Chrome because they suck so much. If thats the standard of Open Source applications, then they really aren't an alternative.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

"That isn't a firefox bug. By default, firefox will try to resolve "localhost"

Yes it IS a bug. http://localhost is ALWAYS 127.0.0.1 There's no resolving to do at all.

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DN4

Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

> Are you saying you can't complain about something unless you're willing to build it yourself?

You can complain as much as you want. But you have the full right to be ignored if you are *just* complaining.

As an open source developer (not paid by any rich foundation, mind you), I often must say: I do not want to invest my time into this. There are more important/interesting things to work on and this one is weird/uninteresting/marginal/tangential to the program function/... But patches are welcome. This is how open source works.

Have you tried your complaining tactics with proprietary software? How it went?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: http://localhost is ALWAYS 127.0.0.1

So why do we have to put it in /etc/hosts (or equivalent) and why do various applications look for it there, if it never changes?

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Facepalm

Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

How is "localhost" ALWAYS turned into 127.0.0.1 ?? By calling the, errr, resolver library. Which will obey whatever rules are in its configuration to turn the string "localhost" into an IPv4 or IPv6 address.

This is known as resolving.

Or did I miss something ironic in your comment ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

> Yes it IS a bug. http://localhost is ALWAYS 127.0.0.1 There's no resolving to do at all.

The entire 127.0.0.0/8 address block has been reserved for the loopback interface. Each and every one the the 16+ million IP addresses will be looped back. Any one of them can be defined and used as localhost (see RFC 5735 Special Use IPv4 Addresses).

Most OSes (this includes MS) have a hosts file that contains the lookup for localhost. It should always be resolved.

So no it ISNT a bug.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

Also, localhost in ipv6 doesn't resolve to 127.0.0.1

This should be handled by the o/s, not by the browser.

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Re: Sometimes, nobody inside cares what *you* think

localhost doesn't have to be 127.0.0.1, it can be any address, although to fit with the standards that should be within the 127.0.0.1/8 range. On my machine it is 127.0.1.1 because I am too lazy to rewrite a very badly written hack I created years ago that used 127.0.0.1 ...

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Anonymous Coward

Of Google software and battery drain

While we're on this topic:

Google, when are you going to fix the shameless power-sucking pig also known as Google Play on Android devices? That useless piece of bloatware is responsible for battery drain on almost all JellyBean and KitKat devices.

Perhaps you could start by explaining what Google Play actually does that it needs so much power. Does it calculate PI to the 1024th decimal in an infinite loop?

Or this is not not considered a problem in Mountain View?

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Re: Of Google software and battery drain

>Perhaps you could start by explaining what Google Play

Perhaps you could explain why you *think* it's google play that is using all that power..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Of Google software and battery drain

> Perhaps you could explain why you *think* it's google play that is using all that power..

I don't *think* it is Google Play, I *know* it is Google Play, and so does Sony, amongst others. Google Play has been outed as the major pig that it is officially, by Sony Mobile:

http://www.xperiablog.net/2014/06/05/sony-acknowledges-xperia-z-kitkat-battery-woes-provides-workaround/

The "workaround" is to disable Google Play Services.

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Re: Of Google software and battery drain

That appears to be a problem specific to Sony devices. Not sure how that is Google's fault. It's very possible that something in the Play Services triggers something in Sony devices that cause them to fully wake and that causes extra battery usage. The thing is the play services are used by other apps so it may very well be that one of Sony's shovel-ware apps is what is causing play services to be active... It's sort of like blaming the milk for running out when you open the bottom of the carton.

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Re: Of Google software and battery drain

It also impacted my 2012 Nexus 7 on KitKat and on Cyanogenmod 11.... Even with wireless and such disabled it would drain the battery in a couple of days on standby. It would routinely use at much as the screen in normal use. I have no idea what it was doing as it has no connection to the outside world.

Disabling it has fixed the problem, so yes, its play services, no, its not a Sony problem...

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Re: Of Google software and battery drain

I find that Googles own Android apps are the worst offenders.

Only today I had to kill G+ because it was sucking CPU and I/O. Maps was also running - I've used neither in months.

Android is my tablet OS of choice, but I'd be pretty pissed off at it if I didn't have the ability to keep it under control.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Of Google software and battery drain

> Not sure how that is Google's fault.

The Bullshit comes out swinging. You must work at Google.

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Thumb Up

Re: Disabling it has fixed the problem, so yes, its play services...

Indeed it is. Can confirm same on my 2012 Nexus 7, 2013 (I think) Galaxy Tab 3 10", and my new Xperia Z-1 tablet. I have to go in and disable all the Play apps (which I never use, so no issue there) and G+ just for luck. Battery life quickly returns to something respectable.

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Re: Of Google software and battery drain

The OP means Google Play Services, which is pretty much a kitchen sink of things that Google thinks Android developers might find useful. Some of those things impact battery life, most probably the location-related stuff (formerly known as Latitude).

I found that the Google Play Services process was keeping a wakelock for ages, thus the phone was never "sleeping" and the battery was draining quickly. I disabled the permission in CyanogenMod AppOps (unfortunately not available to any stock ROM, although you can root and install it) and sure enough the problem went away.

There is speculation online that this wakelock problem is actually caused by some other apps that are *using* Google Play Services, unfortunately AFAIK it's impossible to tell - one downside of this library approach to system functionality I guess. Would be helpful if there was some kind of statistics monitor available for Google Play Services though.

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Sounds like an issue with how Windows uses the platform timer opposed to Chrome causing the battery drain.

Why is something that can cause issues like this available to user applications in the first place?

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My thoughts exactly.

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It's hardly Windows' fault if people choose to use a battery draining program. The user has presumably chosen to install a program which behaves in this manner.

I'm no MS appologist but, in this case, it really isn't their fault. If they don't allow programs to change the timer resolution, someone's 'cure for cancer' program will depend on being able to change the timer resolution, and then MS are autocratic pricks who won't let people use the hardware which they've paid good money for.

If they do allow it, someone (hi there, Google) will use it for something stupid and MS gets the blame for allowing them to.

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I doubt the sleep issue too

I really doubt that most CPUs are really sleeping the full 15mS anyway.

Every time there is an interrupt (mouse wiggle, network packet, end of video frame,...) the CPU has to wake up to process it.

If the timer is just being woken up to service Chrome, then it should be going to sleep again fast.

Sure there are some corner conditions (ie. no network, no mouse activity) when this bug might have been causiung a few % change in power usage, but that would be the exception and you can understand why the developers would give this a low priority.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Err, because some apps that you install might NEED to check state more often than the default? near-real time systems might want to wake every 4 or 5 ms, or even as google chrome thinks it needs to, every 1ms.

Unless you've loaded a plugin into chrome that for some reason needs frequent wake-ups, then there's no reason for a browser to want to wake up more frequently than the defauly.

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