Google Chrome gets macOS Big Sur support, 5x CPU usage reduction, and battery improvements

Google has released a massive update for its Chrome browser with version 87 bringing various performance and efficiency improvements, macOS Big Sur support, and new features such as tab search, address bar actions, Cards, and more. The update is now available for all macOS, Windows, Linux and Chrome OS users.

Chrome 87 gets performance and battery improvements along with new features

The most important updates in Chrome version 87 are related to performance and efficiency. Google has implemented new tab throttling improvements that disallow background tabs from using CPU while allowing websites to continue playing music or send background notifications. Google claims that this reduces CPU usage by 5x, and extends battery life by 1.25 hours based on their internal testing. These are vague comparisons as Google did not go into details about what their previous benchmark was.

A feature called Occlusion Tracking has also been brought over from Chrome OS and Mac, to Windows, which lets Chrome understand which tabs and windows are visible and optimizes resources accordingly. As per Google, this will help Chrome launch 25% faster, and load pages 7% faster, while using less memory than before. This feature will start rolling out with Chrome v87 and continue in v88.

For Android users, Google has improved the back/forward cache to navigating in the browser will not reload complete websites. It will reload as much content as possible from the cache for faster browsing.

In terms of new features, Chrome is starting to roll out a new tab search field, which will allow users to quickly see a list of their open tabs and search them. Although this has been possible from the address bar, this feature will be useful for power users who open dozens of tabs at a time. This feature will be available in Chrome OS first and will roll out to other operating systems later.

Address bar actions are a new feature that will let users access various settings in Chrome just by typing keywords such as “delete history”. This is such a simple yet helpful feature, which will mostly be used by power users.

Lastly, Google has announced a new feature called Cards in Chrome, which will let users jump between various ‘activities’ that they were performing in the browser such as researching for gifts, planning a trip, and so on. Google will automatically understand this and let users continue from where they left off before. This feature is similar to how ‘collections’ in Microsoft Edge intends to work, but is automated in Google’s implementation.

P.S. macOS Big Sur users now get a new icon and Apple Silicon support.

https://twitter.com/elvin_not_11/status/1328816326542905345

Mozilla also released a major Firefox 83 update with macOS Big Sur support, Rosetta compatibility for M1 chip, and performance improvements.

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