Google Ships 64-Bit Chrome for OS X

Releases the browser to its Dev preview channel; follows Windows 64-bit promotion to Beta

Google has promoted the 64-bit version of Chrome for Windows to the browser's more stable Beta distribution channel, and boosted Chrome for OS X to 64-bit on the more preliminary Canary and Dev builds.

Chrome for Windows 64-bit shifted to Beta on July 30 after about two months on the less-polished Canary and Dev lines. Google has touted the 64-bit version as more stable and faster than its 32-bit predecessor, which has been the Chrome standard since its 2008 debut.

In June, Google claimed the 64-bit browser was 25% faster in rendering graphics and multimedia content, and boasted of "a marked increase in stability ... over 32-bit Chrome," with half the crashes.

Chrome 64-bit for Windows runs only on Windows 7 and Windows 8.

When Google announced Chrome for Windows 64-bit in June, it said it was working on a 64-bit version for OS X, the Mac's operating system, but did not provide a release timetable.

That became moot Tuesday, when Google quietly promoted the 64-bit OS X browser to both the Canary and Dev channels. The former is rougher-edged than the latter, and updated daily; the Dev build updates less frequently -- once or twice a week on average -- but is still considered a preview that may contain major bugs.

Other browsers have been available in 64-bit for years.

Apple's Safari has been 64-bit since 2009's version 4, which launched alongside OS X Snow Leopard, and Microsoft's Internet Explorer has been available in 64-bit even longer, since 2006's IE7. Opera Software, the Norwegian browser maker known for its same-named desktop flagship, also offers a 64-bit edition on Windows.

Mozilla, on the other hand, has long had 64-bit versions of Firefox for OS X and Linux, but has yet to push a one for Windows into its prime release channels. One is available on Mozilla's "Nightly" build line, analogous to Chrome's Canary, but it has not moved onto the more reliable Aurora channel in the two months since Computerworld last checked on its status.

The Nightly build of 64-bit Firefox on Windows can be downloaded directly from Mozilla's FTP server ( download installer).

A pair of Firefox derivatives -- Pale Moon and Cyberfox -- are available in 64-bit editions on Windows. Both are based on Mozilla's source code.

If no major problems crop up, 64-bit will reach the Stable edition of Chrome on Windows with version 37. Google does not hew to a set timetable for upgrades, as does Mozilla, but it typically rolls out a new version every six to eight weeks. Chrome 37 should ship between the end of August and mid-September.

OS X users will probably see a 64-bit version on the Stable line in October with the release of Chrome 38.

The Beta build of Chrome 64-bit for Windows can be downloaded from Google's website, as can the Dev version of Chrome 64-bit for OS X.

Chrome on OS X now comes in a 64-bit edition for OS X, but it's still in the Dev preview channel, and rough around the edges.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

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This story, "Google Ships 64-Bit Chrome for OS X" was originally published by Computerworld .

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