Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Download Editors' Rating:
5
Spectacular
Average User Rating:
3.7
out of 3086 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    6.0.472.53
  • Total Downloads:
    25,333,785
  • Date Added:
    September 02, 2010
  • File Size:
    Not available
  • Downloads Last Week:
    13,523
  • Operating Systems:
    Windows XP/Vista/7

Editors' Review

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The bottom line: Google Chrome 6 is not only stable to use, but comes with a full range of competitive features. It lacks some of the finer customizations in Firefox, but overall users browsing with Chrome will find it a pleasant, fast, and standards-compliant experience.

Review: Now into its second year, Google Chrome has begun to mature from a lightweight and fast browsing alternative into an innovative browser on the precipice of a potential browsing revolution with the pending ChromeOS. The browser that people can use today, Chrome 6, offers highly competitive features including synchronization, autofill, and and maintains Google's reputation for building one of the fastest browsers available.

Please note that there are at least four versions of Chrome available at the moment, and this review only addresses the "stable" branch, intended for general use. Chrome beta, dev, and Canary are respectively progressively less stable versions of the browser, and aimed at developers.

Installation:

Chrome's installation process is simple and straightforward. If you download from Google's Web site, it will ask you if you'd like to anonymous submit usage statistics to the company. This can be toggled even after the browser's installed by going to the "Wrench" preferences menu, choosing Options, then Under the Hood, and unchecking Help Make Chrome Better. Depending on your processor, the installation process should take less than two minutes.

Interface:

Google's Chrome interface has changed remarkably little since its surprise debut in September 2008. Tabs are still on top, the location bar--which Google likes to call the "Omnibar"--dominates the minimalist design, and the browser has few visible control buttons besides Back, Forward, and a combined Stop/Reload button. Although some users may not like the tabs on top, we find it to be aesthetically preferable because it leaves more room below for the Web site we're looking at.

One change has been to remove the secondary Page options button, and combine it with the preferences Wrench to create space for extension icons to the right of the location bar. As it currently looks, it could be better organized. Some controls, such as page zoom, are readily available. Others, such as the extension manager, are hidden away under a Tools sub-menu.

Chrome's extensions are fairly limited in how they can alter the browser's interface. Unlike Firefox, which gives add-on makers a lot of leeway to change the browser's look, Chrome mandates that extensions appear only as icons to the right of the location bar. The benefit maintains a uniform look in the browser, but it definitely limits how much the browser can be customized. Version 6 of Chrome doesn't support sidebars, either, although other Chromium-based browsers (such as the Flock 3 beta) do offer the feature.

Even with its limitations, the interface design has remained a contemporary exemplar of how to minimize the browser's screen footprint while remaining easy-to-use and versatile.

Features and Support:

Chrome 6's features are accessible from the preferences menu, and the browser offers a complete range of modern browsing conveniences. The basics are well-represented, including tabbed browsing, new window creation, and a private browsing mode that Google calls "Incognito" which disables cookies tracking, history recording, extension support and other browsing breadcrumbs.

Based on WebKit, the same open-source engine that powers Apple Safari, Google's Android mobile platform, and several other Web-browsing tools, but with a different JavaScript engine, Chrome's tabs remain one of the best things about the browser. The tabs are detachable: "tabs" and "windows" are interchangeable here. Detached tabs can be dragged and dropped into the browser, and tabs can be rearranged at any time by clicking, holding, dragging, and releasing. Not only can tabs be isolated, but each tab actually exists in its own task process. This means that when one site crashes, the other tabs do not. While memory leaks are a major concern in Chrome when you have dozens of tabs open, sluggish behavior and other impediments weren't noticeable until after there were more than 30 tabs open. That's not an immutable number, though, and a computer's hardware will alter browser performance.

Some of the basics in Chrome are handled extremely intuitively. In-page searching works smoothly. Using the CTRL + F hot key or the menu option, searching for a word or phrase will open a text entry box on the top right of the browser. It searches as you type, indicating the number of positives results and highlighting them on the page.

Account syncing is another area where Chrome excels. Using your Gmail account, Chrome will sync your themes, preferences, autofill entries, extensions, and bookmarks. You can toggle each of those categories, too. It does not yet offer password syncing, although the password manager offers a smart show password option that keeps it visually separate from the site that it's associated to.

Chrome also contains a lot of privacy-tweaking settings. In the Options menu, go to the Under the Hood tab. From here, users can toggle and customize most of the browser's privacy and security settings. Cookies, image management, JavaScript, plug-ins, pop-ups, location information, and notifications can be adjusted from the Content Settings button. This includes toggling specific plug-ins, such as the built-in Adobe Flash plug-in or the Chrome PDF reader (which is deactivated by default.)

Like Firefox, Chrome gives users broad control over search engines and setting search customizations. While this doesn't sound like much, not all browsers allow you to set keyword shortcuts for searching, and some even restrict which search engine you can set as your default. Chrome comes with three defaults to choose from: Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

The Chrome extension manager, bookmark manager, and download manager all open in new tabs. They allow you to search their contents and throw in some basic management options like deletion, but in general none feel as robust as their counterparts in competing browsers. For example, URLs in the bookmark manager are only revealed when you mouse over a bookmark, and you must click on one to get the URL to permanently appear. That's an extra click that other browsers don't require of you.

Two other low-profile but well-executed features in Chrome include auto-updating and translation. Chrome automatically updates when a new version comes out. This makes it harder to revert back to an older version, but it's highly unlikely that you'll want to downgrade this build of Chrome since this is the stable build and not the beta or developer's version. The second feature, automatic translation of Web pages, is available to other browsers as a Google add-on, but because it comes from Google it's baked directly into Chrome.

Chrome is also a leader in HTML5 implementation, which is uneven because of the continuing development of HMTL5 standards. This will become more important in the coming months and years, but for right now it doesn't massively affect a user's interaction with Web sites.

In the realm of security, besides allowing users to disable JavaScript, Chrome will autoblock Web sites that are known as unsafe or for promulgating phishing attacks and malware threats. This depends on Google's ability to flag Web sites as risky, though, and so it's recommended to use a network like the Web of Trust extension or a separate security program to block threats.

Performance:

Based on the open-source WebKit engine and Google's V8 JavaScript engine, Google Chrome debuted to much fanfare because of its rocketing rendering speeds. Two years down the line, that hasn't changed, and the stable version of Chrome remains one of the fastest stable browsers available. The less-stable versions, with their more recent improvements and bug-fixes, are even faster.

CNET benchmarks will be added here shortly, but Google claims that Chrome 6's JavaScript rendering is 10 times faster than when Chrome was first released in 2008. Historically, Chrome has been one of the fastest browsers available across multiple benchmarks, and that's not expected to change with this version.

Conclusion:

Where Chrome 5 was the first version of the browser that felt fully baked, Chrome 6 has begun to add serious features to that foundation while improving usability. It's a ready-to-go browser that offers top-of-the-line speed, a clean, minimalist look, and competitive features that justify its still-increasing market share. It does have minor problems, but Chrome should be a serious option for anybody who wants a browser that gets out of the way of browsing the Web.

 
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Publisher's Description

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User Reviews
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  • Current Version

    3.7

    out of 18 votes

    • 5 star 9
    • 4 star 2
    • 3 star 2
    • 2 star 2
    • 1 star 3
  • All Versions

    3.7

    out of 3086 votes

    • 5 star 1196
    • 4 star 790
    • 3 star 442
    • 2 star 249
    • 1 star 409
  • My rating

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1 stars

"What update?"

October 17, 2014  |  By bryan sisson

 |  Version: Google Chrome 38.0.2125.104

Pros

Can't comment yet

Cons

My antivirus informs me to install out of date chrome! Cannot download it! I've dropped my firewall and still no joy!

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 6.0.472.53

    Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 has been released to the stable and beta channels for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Updates from the previous stable release include:

  • Updated UI
  • Form Autofill
  • Syncing of extensions and Autofill data
  • Increased speed and stability
  • Security fixes and rewards: (Please see the Chromium security page for more detail. Note that the referenced bugs may be kept private until a majority of our users are up to date with the fix.)

  • Low Pop-up blocker bypass with blank frame target. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (Inferno) and "ironfist99".
  • Medium URL bar visual spoofing with homographic sequences. Credit to Chris Weber of Casaba Security.
  • Medium Apply more restrictions on setting clipboard content. Credit to Brook Novak.
  • High Stale pointer with SVG filters. Credit to Tavis Ormandy of the Google Security Team.
  • Medium Possible installed extension enumeration. Credit to Lostmon.
  • Low Browser NULL crash with WebSockets. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (SkyLined), Google Chrome Security Team (Justin Schuh) and Keith Campbell.
  • High Use-after-free in Notifications presenter. Credit to Sergey Glazunov.
  • High Notification permissions memory corruption. Credit to Michal Zalewski of the Google Security Team and Google Chrome Security Team (SkyLined).
  • High Integer errors in WebSockets. Credit to Keith Campbell and Google Chrome Security Team (Cris Neckar).
  • High Memory corruption with counter nodes. Credit to kuzzcc.
  • Low Avoid storing excessive autocomplete entries. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (Inferno).
  • High Stale pointer in focus handling. Credit to VUPEN Vulnerability Research Team (VUPEN-SR-2010-249).
  • High Sandbox parameter deserialization error. Credit to Ashutosh Mehra and Vineet Batra of the Adobe Reader Sandbox Team.
  • Medium Cross-origin image theft. Credit to Isaac Dawson.
  • This release also fixes [51070] (Windows kernel bug workaround; credit to Marc Schoenefeld), which was incorrectly declared fixed in version 5.0.375.127.
  • In addition, we would like to credit Google Chrome Security Team (Inferno), James Robinson (Chromium development community), Google Chrome Security Team (Cris Neckar), Aki Helin of OUSPG, Fred Akalin (Chromium development community), Anna Popivanova, "myusualnickname", Michal Zalewski of the Google Security Team, kuzzcc and Aaron Boodman (Chromium development community) for finding bugs during the development cycle such that they never reached a stable build.

General
Publisher Google
Publisher web site http://www.google.com/
Release Date September 02, 2010
Date Added September 02, 2010
Version 6.0.472.53
Category
Category Browsers
Subcategory Web Browsers
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows, Windows XP
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size Not Available
File Name UNKNOWN
Popularity
Total Downloads 25,333,785
Downloads Last Week 13,523
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

Previous Versions:

 
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