A dev-oriented 64-bit version of Google’s Chrome web browser is now available for use in Windows 7 and Windows 8. In a blog post on the matter, Google software engineer Will Harris said a 64-bit browser allows Google to take advantage of the latest processor and complier optimizations, a more modern instruction set and a calling convention that allows more function parameters to be passed quickly by registers.
In addition to speed, the browser should be more secure as the extra bits help better defend against exploitation techniques such as JIT spraying and improve the effectiveness of existing security features like heap partitioning.
Finally, Harris notes they’ve observed a marked increase in stability for 64-bit Chrome over its 32-bit counterpart. Specifically, he said crash rates for web content processing are nearly half that of the 32-bit version.
Google’s 64-bit browser is available as a beta through the Developer and Canary channels. This new version will replace your existing version while preserving all of your settings and bookmarks so there’s no need to uninstall a current version first. Just keep in mind that it is a beta release so there are bound to be a few bugs here and there.
Given its release into these channels, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see a 64-bit version hit the mainstream channel later this year. No word yet on whether or not Google is planning a 64-bit release for the Mac, however. Direct downloads here: