Google Chrome 6.0.472.53 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Google Chrome

CNET Editors' review

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.

More than just speed in Chrome:

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    3.7 stars

    out of 3,068 votes

    • 5 star: 1190
    • 4 star: 788
    • 3 star: 439
    • 2 star: 248
    • 1 star: 403
  • Current version:

    3.7 stars

    out of 18 votes

    • 5 star: 9
    • 4 star: 2
    • 3 star: 2
    • 2 star: 2
    • 1 star: 3
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 18

  • 1.0 stars

    "Nothing but problems"

    September 8, 2010  |   By LeePenny

    Version: Google Chrome 6.0.472.53

    Pros

    The download seemed to go smoothly and no problems with the basic install.

    Cons

    This product caused my computer to act erratic once installed. I used it for about 15 minutes, then shut the computer down as it continued to act weird. Upon restart the next morning, I got the 'BSD' with the message UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME.

    Summary

    With the problems it caused on my computer, I would not recommend this to anyone!!

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 4.0 stars

    "Simple + Fast = Win"

    September 7, 2010  |   By UFOkrazy

    Version: Google Chrome 6.0.472.53

    Pros

    It is fast, simple, customizable and its great!!

    Cons

    It hogs a bit of system resource because it opens tabs in single processes.

    Summary

    Chrome is definitely one of the best browser to use, not to mention its speed and simplicity. But there is still a lot of room for it to become the best.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 5.0 stars

    "Fast, Light, and simple"

    September 7, 2010  |   By FirewaveZ

    Version: Google Chrome 6.0.472.53

    Pros

    1. Minimalistic
    2. FAST!
    3. Simple
    4. Customizable
    5. Compatible with web standards
    6. Fast rate of development.
    7. Support for extensions.

    Cons

    Lacks some basic features like print preview

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Drop Down Menu displayed offset from main button"

    September 7, 2010  |   By byteone

    Version: Google Chrome 6.0.472.53

    Pros

    looks nice

    Cons

    Doesn't handle drop down menu created with Xara Menu Maker 1.1 correctly

    Summary

    Doesn't handle drop down menu created with Xara Menu Maker 1.1 correctly
    Menu generated with ".js" files

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  • 5.0 stars

    "????????? ???????,????-??? ??? ??????????"

    September 7, 2010  |   By busja43

    Version: Google Chrome 6.0.472.53

    Pros

    ???????? ???????,?? ????????.

    Cons

    ??????? ?? ?????? ??????????.

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    "It's perfect"

    September 7, 2010  |   By dogantuncer

    Version: Google Chrome 6.0.472.53

    Pros

    It's very fast, minimalist and powerful. Best browser I've seen.

    Cons

    No native RSS support.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Continues to set the standard for modern day browsers"

    September 6, 2010  |   By gorskiegangsta

    Version: Google Chrome 6.0.472.53

    Pros

    Fast (both to start and to load pages); great stability & security; easy, intuitive and uncluttered UI; wide range of extensions; able to sync all your bookmarks, themes, extensions, etc... to your google acct.

    Cons

    Incompatible with some pages which use the IE framework.

    *Minor complaint*
    Runs all tabs and extensions as separate processes (for the sake of stability and security) which takes more RAM than usual.

    Summary

    Overall, I have to say, that it is hands down the best browser on the market right now with great, minimalistic (though still full featured), easy to use user interface, great stability and security, a wide range of extensions and great synchronization options. Chrome really sets the standard for modern day browsers; an argument backed up by the fact that browsers like Firefox 4 and IE 9 are adapting some of trends that Chrome pioneered two years ago which have, so far, been very successful.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Slower than Firefox !!!"

    September 6, 2010  |   By colinh25

    Version: Google Chrome 6.0.472.53

    Pros

    it's sleek and nice looking (that's pretty much it)

    Cons

    slower than Firefox and i don't like the twirly loading thing on the tabs..

    Summary

    it sucks, the worst browser ever, IE 8 was better than this (sadly to say)

    Updated on Sep 7, 2010

    I'v changed my mined, it's pretty good, i uninstalled Firefox and my computer is running fast now, Google Chrome is lighter on my system, might not be as fast but ill sacrifice half a second slower for a lighter browser.

    Updated on Sep 7, 2010

    ill give it a 4 stars, it opens up soo much faster than firefox, even on a computer start up it opens up faster than the rest of the programs on my computer!!!!

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Super Fast and Reliable"

    September 6, 2010  |   By Mr1Carlos

    Version: Google Chrome 6.0.472.53

    Pros

    Themes. Faster than others. Easy to Use.
    Instant search from the address bar
    GOOGLE

    Cons

    Not One yet.

    Summary

    THE BEST! I choose Chrome over rests.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Lovely lightweight little thing."

    September 6, 2010  |   By JamesonJameson

    Version: Google Chrome 6.0.472.53

    Pros

    Light, simple, easy on the eye.

    Cons

    I hate the way it likes to put images of sites I have visited up on the home page. I know there is a way to switch this off, but I don't like using private browsing. Preferred the old version.

    Summary

    Nimble little number. Great if your computer is being horrible to you or if you want to browse without being pestered by your browser.

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Results 1-10 of 18

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