The new release is faster, twice as stable, but there is no support for some older plug-ins
After several months of testing, Google has finally launched the 64-bit version of Chrome 37 for Windows. Developers say this release offers improved stability, security and speed over its 32-bit sibling.
For example, the new browser can decode YouTube videos 15 percent faster, and is 50 percent less likely to crash when rendering typical Web content. At the same time, the new Chrome drops support for 32-bit NAPI plug-ins.
Google launched the 64-bit version of Chrome in the Dev and Canary channels in June, and followed it up with a Beta version in July. The release takes advantage of the latest optimisation and security features in Windows 7 and Windows 8, for example access to more memory.
“Our measurements have shown that the native 64-bit version of Chrome has improved speed on many of our graphics and media benchmarks,” wrote Will Harris, software engineer and ‘embiggener of bits’ at Google.
“For example, the VP9 codec that’s used in High Definition YouTube videos shows a 15 percent improvement in decoding performance. Stability measurements from people opted into our Canary, Dev and Beta 64-bit channels confirm that 64-bit rendering engines are almost twice as stable as 32-bit engines when handling typical web content.
“Finally, on 64-bit, our ‘defence in depth’ security mitigations such as Partition Alloc are able to far more effectively defend against vulnerabilities that rely on controlling the memory layout of objects.”
32-bit version of Chrome is still available, so users willing to test the latest build should make sure they click on ‘Windows 64-bit’ when they are looking to update.
Harris said that 32-bit software development will continue for the foreseeable future, and 32-bit plugins will remain supported, at least until Chrome completely phases out the archaic Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI).
A Google spokesperson previously described NPAPI as “a leading cause of hangs, crashes, security incidents, and code complexity” in Chrome. 32-bit NAPI support has already been scrapped from the 64-bit version of the browser, and the company expects to completely remove this technology from all versions of the browser by the end of the year, although it said the exact timing will depend on user feedback.
A 64-bit version of Chrome for MacOS is still in development.
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