Google updates Chrome browser with battery-saving feature

This new version of the Google browser also adds the ability to send 'do not track' requests to websites

Google has released a Chrome browser update with a video decoding enhancement that the company claims will help users save battery life.

The feature, available for Chrome on Windows, cuts power consumption by executing video decoding on graphics processing units instead of on computers' CPUs, Google said in a blog post. This is because dedicated graphics chips require much less power than computers' CPUs, resulting in a 25 percent increase in battery life in Google tests.

"Now Chrome users on Windows will experience longer battery life so they don't get cut off while watching their favorite YouTube video on repeat," wrote Ami Fischman, a Google software engineer.

This Chrome update -- version 23 -- also gives users an option to send a "do not track" request to websites and online services, although Google warned that this feature's effectiveness depends on how the sites and services field these requests.

"Google is working with others on a common way to respond to these requests in the future," Fischman wrote.

Chrome 23 also consolidates in an icon next to the URL a website's permission settings for things like geolocation identification, pop up messages and camera-microphone access.

"Now, simply click on the page/lock icon next to a website's address in the omnibox to see a list of permissions and tweak them as you wish," Fischman wrote.

Security fixes include one that is not in the Chrome browser per se, but rather in the way MacOS defends against wild writes in compromised graphics drivers. Google paid US$1,000 to the person who reported this bug, rated High, the second-highest rating behind Critical.

Google fixed 13 other security vulnerabilities, including five rated High and seven rated Medium, including one for which it paid a reward of $3,500.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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