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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Better Late Than Never: Google Finally Brings 64-bit Chrome to Windows

Logo used from the start of the Chrome project...
Logo used from the start of the Chrome project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Running a 64-bit version of Windows? If so, you can’t have helped but noticed there’s been a lack of native 64-bit support in Google Chrome — until now.
Google has today announced native 64-bit builds of Chrome for Windows 7 and 8, albeit restricted to those running development and Canary channels.

Development Versions

64-bit hasn’t been this cool since March ’97
Sharing the news, Google Software Engineer Will Harris says that the majority of Chrome users already run systems primed for 64-bit applications. By switching to compatible builds these folks will be able to benefit from a ‘faster and more secure browsing experience’.
Harris touts performance improvements of up to 25% in graphics and multimedia content handling, as well as a ‘marked increase in stability’ over the browser’s 32-bit counterpart.
“Crash rates for the renderer process (i.e. web content process) are almost half that of 32-bit Chrome,” he writes.
By being able to leverage the full hardware capabilities of the underlying system, peppier performance gains are to be expected.
Chrome has offered 64-bit builds on Linux since around 2009. Mac users are currently still waiting, despite Apple’s own browser Safari being available in 64-bit since 2009.

Download Google Chrome 64-bit for Windows

Like all development features, Google is first introducing 64-bit support to Chrome on Windows through the developer and Canary channels. Developers are being invited to try the builds for size and offer feedback so that 64-bit support is rock solid by the time it filters on down to the beta and stable channels.
To download Google Chrome 64-bit head over to the respective Canary or Dev download page.
I recommend using the Canary Channel. While a little more raw (read: buggier) than Dev it can safely run alongside a regular, stable version of Chrome — meaning if Canary goes beak-up your settings, bookmarks, etc. will remain unaffected.  For more on why Canary is pretty awesome see our earlier article.
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