64-bit Chrome finally available to download: Faster, more secure, twice as stable
At long last, Google has released a stable 64-bit version of Chrome for Windows. A download link is available at the bottom of this story. According to Google, 64-bit Chrome for Windows has three major advantages over its 32-bit cousin: It’s faster, more secure, and more stable. Some tasks, such as decoding HD video on YouTube, are 15% faster under the 64-bit version of Chrome. The only major caveat seems to be a lack of support for 32-bit NPAPI plug-ins — but with the exception of a few lesser-known plug-ins, most major plug-ins, including Silverlight, Java, and Flash have all been updated to 64-bit. That’s a small price to pay for increased speed, security, and (according to Google)twice the stability of 32-bit Chrome, though.
Google, like Mozilla and Firefox, has been working on a 64-bit version of Chrome for a long time. Unlike Mozilla, though, which seems destined to never release a 64-bit version of Firefox for a variety of reasons, Google actually pulled the trigger and pushed its 64-bit build of Chrome to its public alpha testing channels (Dev and Canary) back in June. Three months of testing later, and the 64-bit build of Chrome has passed muster and percolated down to the latest stable version: Chrome 37.
The improvements to security and stability are much less nebulous, however. Moving to a 64-bit process allows Chrome to use features such as High Entropy ASLR (address space layout randomization) and improve defenses against JIT spraying, which should make the browser significantly more secure against some zero-day vulnerabilities. Rather remarkably, Google says that Chrome’s 64-bit renderer process is almost twice as stable as the 32-bit version — i.e. it only crashes about half as much. (Obviously I’ll need to do some longer-term testing to confirm whether this is actually the case. The 32-bit version of Chrome for Windows was already pretty darn stable.)
For now, 64-bit Chrome is only available for Windows. 64-bit Chrome for OS X has been in development since 2009 and is yet to make it to the alpha channel, but presumably the pace might pick up a bit now that the Windows version is out of the door. We could see a 64-bit build of Chrome for Android L, which will be optimized for 64-bit chips. It’s also worth pointing out that Internet Explorer 10, released way back in September 2012, was actually the first major 64-bit browser.
Chrome 37 also introduces DirectWrite support (also Windows-only) for smoother and faster font rendering, and a number of other improvements and security fixes.
Download 64-bit Chrome for Windows. Make sure “For Windows 8/7 64-bit” is shown beneath the Download Chrome button (see image above). If your browser has already auto-updated to Chrome 37, you may have some difficulties installing the 64-bit version. I had to open up Task Manager and manually kill every Chrome process before the installer would proceed.
Author: By Sebastian Anthony