GOOGLE HAS ANNOUNCED the launch of a beta channel for the 64-bit version of its Chrome web browser for Windows.
Premiering last month on the development and canary channels, home of intrepid early adopters, the long-awaited 64-bit version of Chrome is now considered stable enough for the "almost primetime" audience.
Based on usual Chrome rollout timescales, it's likely that this means the 64-bit version will be released to the general public before the kids are back from their summer break.
Google's Chrome engineers claim that this new 64-bit build is up to 25 percent faster than the 32-bit version, particularly where media content and graphics intense webpages are concerned.
We've been testing the developer version for the past month on a low-end laptop and have found noticeable speed improvements with less lag, latency and fewer crashes. Google claims that the crash rate for the 64-bit release of the Chrome web browser is half that of the 32-bit version.
Chrome 64-bit is available for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. At present, Chrome OS, the operating system that powers Google's Chromebooks requires a 64-bit environment for development, but uses the 32-bit runtime, suggesting that the Windows release could be a public "dogfooding" exercise for a major upgrade to Chrome OS too. Google recently increased the availability of Chromebooks to nine new territories.
Anyone interested in trying the Chrome 64-bit beta for Windows can download it from the Chrome channel, where it will be the default download option if available.
Google has announced that the new "Material" design it announced last month as part of the upcoming Android L mobile operating system will bring Chrome and Android closer together with the ability to run Android apps within the Chrome web browser. µ