Google Chrome 64-bit versions can now be test-driven by users of 64-bit Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems now that Google has begun development channels for the new browsers.
The Chrome 64-bit strategy was unveiled by Will Harris, a Google software engineer, in a June 3 post on The Chromium Blog.
"Today we're announcing the addition of 64-bit support to Chrome, with two brand-new 64-bit Dev and Canary channels for Windows 7 and 8 users, giving a faster and more secure browsing experience," wrote Harris. "To try it out, download the 64-bit installer from our Canary or Dev download pages. The new version replaces the existing version while preserving all your settings and bookmarks, so there's no need to uninstall a current installation of Chrome."
The move is being made, according to Harris, because most Chrome users today are already running 64-bit versions of Windows 7 or 8 and matching versions of the Chrome browser will be able to take advantage of the improved capabilities they offer.
Among the advances possible through running under 64-bit operating systems are improved speed, which takes advantage of the latest processor and compiler optimizations as well as a more modern instruction set. "As a result, speed is improved, especially in graphics and multimedia content, where we see an average 25 percent improvement in performance," wrote Harris.
Also improved under 64-bit operating systems is security, which will allows Chrome to "better defend against exploitation techniques, such as JIT spraying, and improve the effectiveness of our existing security defense features like heap partitioning," he wrote.
The stability of the Chrome browser in a 64-bit environment is also markedly improved, compared with the 32-bit edition of Chrome, according to Harris. "In particular, crash rates for the renderer process (i.e., Web content process) are almost half that of 32-bit Chrome," he wrote.
The new Dev and Canary versions of Chrome 64-bit browsers are still under development, so they may be subject to more glitches than stable versions of the existing 32-bit browser. Still, Chrome users are free to download the development versions to try out the 64-bit versions for themselves.
"We encourage all our users, especially developers, to give the new 64-bit Chrome a spin, and we're looking forward to hearing your feedback so we can make 64-bit Chrome work great and bring its benefits to our Beta and Stable channel users," wrote Harris.
Google releases new experimental beta and development channels of future software releases so that they can be built, tested and updated before eventual distribution as stable release versions.
Earlier in May, Google announced that its Chrome team has been experimenting with improved URLs for future Chrome versions that could provide better protection for users against phishing attacks that trick them into visiting malicious Websites. Instead of long URLs that are confusing and hard to identify as genuine, shorter origin-chip URLs would mean that phishers couldn't create offshoot URLs that could deceive users into visiting their sites. The experiments involving the origin chip today don't mean that the feature will eventually be included in Chrome browsers of the future. Instead, the testing is allowing developers to see if it is something that they would want to incorporate if the testing shows promise.
In September 2013, the Chrome browser celebrated its fifth birthday. Launched in 2008 as a desktop or laptop application, Chrome today is widely used as a mobile Web browser on many different devices.
Chrome has had quite a ride since its birth. In June 2012, it surpassed Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the world's most used browser for the first time, and it has added many useful features over the years to encourage even more users to adopt it.
Chrome presently holds 45.1 percent of the global Web browser market, compared with 19.9 percent for its closest competitor, Microsoft's Internet Explorer, according to the latest global statistics available from StatCounter.