Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Download Editors' Rating:
5
Spectacular
Average User Rating:
3.7
out of 3104 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    12.0.742.112
  • Total Downloads:
    25,948,328
  • Date Added:
    Jun. 28, 2011
  • Price:
    Free
  • File Size:
    Not available
  • Downloads Last Week:
    20,244
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:
    #2 in Web Browsers

Editors' Review

+

The bottom line: Google Chrome 12 comes with a full range of competitive features, and is one of the most standards-compliant and fastest browsers available. It lacks some of the fine-tuning customizations in Firefox, but Chrome's minimalist interface, fast page-load times, and support for extensions make the browser appealing to the average user as well as to Google fanatics.

Review:
Google Chrome continues to mature from a lightweight and fast browsing alternative into an innovative browser on the precipice of a potential browsing revolution with the just-released Chrome OS. The browser that people can use today, Chrome 12, offers highly competitive features, including synchronization, autofill, and standards compliance, and maintains Google's reputation for building one of the fastest browsers available.

Chrome 12 represents a major milestone for the browser, but those expecting to see dramatic changes in major-point updates will be disappointed. For a while now, Google has been pushing features over what it calls milestone numbers, which means that as soon as new features are usable in the beta version of Chrome, Google will likely push them to all users in the stable edition.

There are no single big changes in Chrome 12; instead there's a series of smaller updates that are still worthwhile changes. Six weeks ago, Chrome 11 saw the debut of an HTML5 speech API that converted your speech into text via a microphone. Chrome 12 offers hardware acceleration improvements and better in-browser security, and notably removes support for the now-defunct offline tool Google Gears.

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 (Windows | Mac), Chrome dev (Windows | Mac), and Chrome Canary (Windows | Mac) 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 the browser from Google's Web site, it will ask you if you'd like to anonymously submit usage statistics to the company. This can be toggled even after the browser's installed by going to the "wrench" Preferences menu and choosing Options, then Under the Hood, and checking or unchecking Help Make Chrome Better. Depending on your processor, the installation process should take less than 2 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 having 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 icon 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 submenu.

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 in changing the browser's look, Chrome mandates that extensions appear only as icons to the right of the location bar. The benefit is that this maintains a uniform look to the browser, but it definitely limits how much the browser can be customized. Chrome doesn't support sidebars, either, although other Chromium-based browsers (such as Comodo Dragon) do offer the feature. There is an option in Chrome's about:flags, a series of experimental features, that lets you move the tabs to a sidebar.

A minor change in Chrome 11 was to move settings pages to their own tab, rather than a dialog box. Chrome 12 extends that configuration to Chrome's synchronization 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 12's features are accessible from the Preferences menu via the wrench icon on the right side of the navigation bar. 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 cookie tracking, history recording, extension support, and other browsing breadcrumbs.

Chrome is based on WebKit, the same open-source engine that powers Apple Safari, Google's Android mobile platform, and several other desktop and mobile Web-browsing tools. However, Chrome runs on a different JavaScript engine than its WebKit cousins, and there are other changes as well.

In Chrome 10, the biggest improvement was to Chrome's JavaScript engine. The new Crankshaft version of Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine, Google claims, was 66 percent faster than the one in Chrome 9. The importance of JavaScript performance has grown dramatically in the past year as developers have been writing not just Web sites but full-featured Web applications in JavaScript. Check out CNET's own benchmarks of the browser below in the Performance section.

Chrome 11 gave us the aforementioned HTML5 speech-to-text API. The input is recorded as text, and the browser automatically inserts the text into the available form field. At the time the feature was launched, it was only officially available on the Google Translate page when translating from English into another language. That's expected to change as developers begin to incorporate the API into their sites.

You can test it by going to Google Translate and clicking the microphone icon in the lower right corner of the text field. At the time of writing, the voice-to-HTML feature appears to work only with English.

While the feature is interesting to find in a browser, there's more behind Google's decision to include it. By gaining a speech-to-text feature, Chrome OS instantly provides a modicum of accessibility for users who have difficulty with keyboards. When the browser is the operating system, making it so people can speak to the computer and have the computer know how to interpret that speech is a quick way to ensure a broader appeal.

Along with hardware-accelerated 3D CSS in Chrome 12, we also get some interesting security improvements. You can now delete Flash cookies from inside Chrome, which makes sense given that Chrome comes with Flash built in, and there's a new Safe Browsing protection against downloading malicious files. Chrome's Web app support, which debuted earlier this year, now includes the ability to launch Web apps from the location bar. This gives keyboard jockeys a bit more power to avoid mousing around, more readily apparent in Chrome OS but nevertheless good to have in the regular old Chrome browser.

Mac users now get a warning window when using Command-Q to close the browser. And finally, Google Gears support is removed in Chrome 12 in preparation for a new offline option for Google Apps. How this will work remains to be seen. Although it could be tied to a Chrome version of Internet Explorer's site-specific pinned tabs feature, that's mere speculation at this point.

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 exists in its own task process. This means that when one site crashes, the other tabs do not. Though memory leaks are a major concern in Chrome when you have dozens of tabs open, we found 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 different computers' 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. Chrome searches as you type, indicating the number of positive 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 it's associated with.

Chrome also offers a lot of privacy-tweaking settings. In the Options menu, go to the Under the Hood tab. From here, you 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 broad control over search engines and search customizations. Though 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 they don't 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.

Two other low-profile but well-executed features in Chrome are autoupdating 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 HTML5 standards. This will become more important in the coming months and years, but right now it doesn't greatly affect interaction with Web sites.

The jump from Chrome 12 beta to stable also brings 14 security changes, including five marked as high-risk. These fixes mostly cover potential risks such as "use-after-free" issues with cursors and float handling. The bottom line is: Chrome continues to get safer as threat vectors are discovered and patched.

In the realm of security, besides allowing you to disable JavaScript, Chrome will autoblock Web sites that are known to promulgate phishing attacks and malware threats or are otherwise unsafe. The usefulness of this depends on Google's ability to flag Web sites as risky, though, and so it's recommended to use an add-on 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 often faster.

Note that to effectively use hardware acceleration, you must make sure that your graphics card drivers are up-to-date.

Nevertheless, Chrome remains one of the fastest browsers available, and its rapid version update rate ensures that it is consistently competitive.

Conclusion
It's hard to tell which is faster, user adoption of Chrome or its development. Certainly the two are linked, and due in no small part to Google's ability to lay claim to the "fastest browser" title, even when it may not be strictly true. The rest of Chrome's appeal lies in its clean, minimalist look, and competitive features that justify its still-increasing market share. Chrome is 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

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  • All Versions

    3.7

    out of 3104 votes

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    • 4 star 791
    • 3 star 443
    • 2 star 250
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Results 1–10 of 3102

1 stars

"Google Chrome embedded every tool to invade privacy"

April 20, 2015  |  By free_dl

 |  Version: Google Chrome 42.0.2311.90

Pros

Can't say anything good.

Cons

1 - Chrome is embedded every possible tool to monitor users' online activities. Very much Google-style!
2 - I am so sick of getting a message that says 'Whoa! Chromium has crashed. Relaunch now?' I get this irritating message all the time when closing down a browser page.
3 - It is not flexible. There's no easy to do set up homepage, doesn't allow you to automatically manage your the privacy settings.
4 - Chrome always changes my language to German. No easy way to just fix it so it permanently recognise it is English I needed!

Summary

I won't use this browser anymore. Back to Mozilla (even though Mozilla crashes and it could be annoying, too). I hate Chrome!

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1 stars

"Looking for a replacement"

April 19, 2015  |  By nmweatherman

 |  Version: Google Chrome 42.0.2311.90

Pros

The pros are what Chrome used to be

Cons

Constantly crashing

Summary

Really tired of Chrome crashing when it tries to load a plug-in (Adobe Flash Player). The browser keeps telling me "plug-in has crashed" or "stop plug-in" then "page has become unresponsive." I tried Comodo but it is just a Chrome clone. I won't try Vivaldi because it is "based on the Chromium platform." Microsoft is closing out IE support so I am left wondering if I will ever find a browser that works. Google is well aware of this continual problem but has done nothing over time to fix it. If anyone here can recommend a broswer that actually works, PLEASE let me know. I am desperate to get rid of Chrome.

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1 stars

"The worst experience I've never had before"

April 02, 2015  |  By Dingd Sit

 |  Version: Google Chrome 41.0.2272.118

Pros

It's totaly not working now.

Cons

I have been a 5-years long chrome user, but Since one week ago, my chrome browser on my 3 computers have been frequently crashed, even more these days my whole win7 are stuck every time when I open the chrome, I've had it enough, I will not use this browser any more!!!!

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1 stars

"This 'Chrome' sure doesn't shine!"

March 28, 2015  |  By mpralf27

 |  Version: Google Chrome 41.0.2272.101

Pros

It wasn't a big hassle to remove. I never had to deal w that Vosteran virus others have mentioned. I'll consider myself pretty lucky on that count!

Cons

I don't know *** is wrong w Google Chrome. I looked forward to a great browser, but it has failed miserably. First time I loaded it it crashed and pages refused to load. I deleted the first install completely, even used CCleaner to remove all traces to be certain I could do a clean reinstall. BTW I have used the always dependable CCleaner (free version) for yrs and it's my favorite must-have cleaning tool! Anyway, next day I reinstalled Google Chrome and it acted the same way. To hell w it! I can't be bothered wasting time trying it again. I am no fan of I.E. but you can't beat it for reliability. But the browser I employ 90% of the time is Firefox. Other than the occasional annoying crash, it rocks! A computer geek friend is a big fan of Opera, but from what I see from others comments, it's a resource hog. To each his own I guess. I'll just stick w Firefox for now and use I.E. as my backup. I'll be glad to try a future version of Chrome when they eventually get the bugs out.

Summary

The current version of Google Chrome just wasn't made for me. I have 24 GB of RAM and am using Windows 8.1 (not a fan at all, can't wait to dump it for 10!) Even though I use the Google search portal before all others, I am very disappointed. This 'Chrome' sure doesn't shine! IMHO it's a real clunker of a browser at this point. I'll be glad to try it again one day.......when they decide to give it a major tuneup - and if it's not loaded down w a lot of useless POS options I'd just naturally want to remove.

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1 stars

"its just dumb"

March 07, 2015  |  By jericho smith

 |  Version: Google Chrome 41.0.2272.76

Pros

i cant think of any right now

Cons

The new update decided to add a new task bar which i just hate. it displays my name on the top right and when i turn that off it displays my picture on the top left. it also displays my picture on the chome png on the task bar of windows. With the new update it also decides to save all the tabs i have open whether if i want them or not, this dramatically reduces the speed of google chrome. I am currently looking at new browsers because it is now to laggy and just to frustrating to navigate. I know its not my computer that is lagging, i am running a 8 core amd fx 8300, 16gb ram, 1tb black c hdd, msi 4gb graphics. Google has definitely been on a roll lately they just bricked my nexus 7 2nd gen i am now unable to connect to wifi, and i cannot open any app.

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1 stars

"Google Chrome's a hog. Can't set internet cache limit."

January 31, 2015  |  By dcburdi

 |  Version: Google Chrome 40.0.2214.93

Pros

Better than MS's I.E. Yahoo!'s "Move" function stays at the last folder, I.E. doesn't. Multiple moves to the same folder area is facilitated.

Cons

Again, can't set internet cache limit in Chrome. Uses lotta memory.

Summary

If you can get past the internet cache limit, Chrome's great. But Mozilla Firefox is better - doesn't hog the cache.

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1 stars

"I finally just gave up"

January 25, 2015  |  By mia2524

 |  Version: Google Chrome 40.0.2214.91

Pros

Much faster than firefox or IE. I loved the older versions, I was very happy until

Cons

got a virus. I worked for weeks to get rid of it and searched and searched. it was only on Chrome.
Flashplayer - stopped working., again tried everything to no avail. I hated it.
Seems like a lots of the short cuts were upgraded with now I get to try to remember keyboard short cut Oh goody. Where is my cut, paste, print, new window or tab? And the best of all my please bookmark my page? Now to get to bookmarks I have to go to another place, click on that, then some dumb screen comes up with bunches of little boxes (like ie) and I have to search for my page. Very disturbing. then when day when the nerves on on a bit of an edge, one more thing happened and then a lightbulb went off, delete the damn thing, so i did.

Summary

newer technology does not mean improvement. Work smarter not harder. When you get used to something you don't like to see it change unless it is an improvement. Adding steps is not an improvement. I liked chrome, I did not want to go back to firefox but considering all the cons, I had to. sad day in this household. sad day.

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1 stars

"Chrome virus Vosteran"

January 17, 2015  |  By agick

 |  Version: Google Chrome 39.0.2171.99

Pros

None due to virus Vosteran

Cons

Chrome as a browser is very good but if you install with it Vosteran, a browser hijacker, you will find its search engine forced into a new tab which cannot be removed. Vosteran will be installed without your permission when you install other software such as Google 'Play'. I found Vosteran to severely impact the workings of both Chrome and IE. There are many web reports dealing with this virus and how to remove it if you Google. Unfortunately I finally had to resort to reformatting my hard-drive, reinstalling files and software, all very time consuming. Chrome Web Store promotes Vosteran and the myriad good reviews there makes me wonder if it's all just a come-on. I'm now looking again at Firefox.

Summary

Chrome users need to be very cautious of not installing virus Vosteran.

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2 stars

"Getting Worst!"

January 11, 2015

 |  Version: Google Chrome 39.0.2171.95

Pros

Used to be a champ!

Cons

Working like a old junkie! No good stuff in it!!!

Summary

I used to enjoy browsing with chrome a lot but my recent experiences forced me to move on to Firefox!

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1 stars

"I am not interested in invasion of privacy"

January 05, 2015  |  By dabeda.tiludlisi

 |  Version: Google Chrome 39.0.2171.95

Pros

i am not interested in invasion of privacy

Cons

i am not interested in invasion of privacy

Summary

i am not interested in invasion of privacy

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 12.0.742.112

Chrome 12.0.742.112 contains an updated version of Adobe Flash, along with the security fixes noted below:

Security fixes and rewards:

  • [77493] Medium CVE-2011-2345: Out-of-bounds read in NPAPI string handling. Credit to Philippe Arteau.
  • [84355] High CVE-2011-2346: Use-after-free in SVG font handling. Credit to miaubiz.
  • [85003] High CVE-2011-2347: Memory corruption in CSS parsing. Credit to miaubiz.
  • [85102] High CVE-2011-2350: Lifetime and re-entrancy issues in the HTML parser. Credit to miaubiz.
  • [85177] High CVE-2011-2348: Bad bounds check in v8. Credit to Aki Helin of OUSPG.
  • [85211] High CVE-2011-2351: Use-after-free with SVG use element. Credit to miaubiz.
  • [85418] High CVE-2011-2349: Use-after-free in text selection. Credit to miaubiz

General
Publisher Google
Publisher web site http://www.google.com/
Release Date June 28, 2011
Date Added June 28, 2011
Version 12.0.742.112
Category
Category Browsers
Subcategory Web Browsers
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP/Vista/7
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size Not Available
File Name UNKNOWN
Popularity
Total Downloads 25,948,328
Downloads Last Week 20,244
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

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