Google Chrome

Google Chrome

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

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    18.0.1025.142
  • Total Downloads:
    25,364,213
  • Date Added:
    March 28, 2012
  • File Size:
    Not available
  • Downloads Last Week:
    14,855
  • Operating Systems:
    Windows XP/Vista/7

Editors' Review

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The bottom line: Competitiveness, thy name is Chrome. Google's browser is one of the fastest and most standards-compliant browsers available. It lacks some of the fine-tuning you'll find in Firefox, but from the minimalist interface to support for future-Web tech like Native Client and HTML5, the browser is a must.

Review:
Google Chrome has matured from a lightweight and fast browsing alternative into an innovative, standard-bearing browser that people love. It's powerful enough to drive its own operating system, Chrome OS. The browser that people can use today, Chrome 18, offers highly competitive features, including synchronization, autofill, and standards compliance, and maintains Google's reputation for building one of the fastest browsers available.

Chrome 18 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 in a rapid-release cycle, 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.

Chrome 18 brings the advanced graphics support of WebGL and Canvas2D to older Windows and Mac computers. Unfortunately, the improvements do not apply to Linux.

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 (download) | Mac (download)), Chrome dev (Windows (download) | Mac (download)), and Chrome Canary (Windows (download) | Mac (download)) are 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 is installed by going to the wrench-icon 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 (aka Omnibox) 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 stands, 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.

Settings pages get their own tab, rather than a dialog box. If you sign in more than one Google account, you'll see the profile icons in the upper left corner on the tab row.

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

Features and support
Chrome 18's features are accessible from the Preferences menu via the wrench icon on the right side of the navigation bar. It 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.

Along with hardware-accelerated 3D CSS, there have been 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 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.

There's Native Client, too. Also known as NaCl, it's open-source technology that allows C and C++ code to be securely run in the browser. It basically lets software run within two protected sandboxes, which will theoretically cut down on browser-based threats dramatically. When completed, NaCl will enable Web apps to run as smoothly as programs that are hosted on your hard drive.

Besides allowing you to disable JavaScript, Chrome will automatically block Web sites that are known to promulgate phishing attacks and malware threats or be 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.

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).

Chrome offers malware scanning on Web pages to include downloads, and the precaching tool for loading sites in your search results early now works with the Omnibox location bar.

Print preview, formerly a small but glaring hole in Chrome's feature list, is now present in the Windows and Linux versions. Chrome stable for Mac still doesn't have the feature, which is powered by the PDF reader that comes built into Chrome.

Chrome's tabs remain one of the best things about the browser. The tabs are detachable: "tabs" and "windows" become 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 tab 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 does well. Using your Gmail account, Chrome will sync your themes, preferences, autofill entries, passwords, extensions, and bookmarks. You can toggle each of those categories, too. Extension syncing has been the roughest of the lot.

Chrome has multiple user account support. This means that you can now have multiple people, or at least multiple Gmail accounts, running in Chrome simultaneously. However, it's not "people-secure," meaning that although your data might be secured on Google servers, once an account is logged in to Chrome, you don't have to re-enter your account data. Anybody with access to Chrome on your computer can see your stuff.

The intuitive New Tab page allows you to create custom categories by dragging and dropping apps and bookmarks, and includes navigation arrows on the left and right edges of the page that become more visible on mouse-over.

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 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 HTML5 standards. This will become more important in the coming months and years, but right now it doesn't greatly affect interactions with Web sites.

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. More than three 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.

You can see CNET's most recent benchmark tests that included Google Chrome; while that particular version of Chrome didn't do too well, the browser has seen a lot of changes since that test and you definitely should not discount it.

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. It finally has extended hardware accelerated graphics to older Windows and Macs courtesy improvements to WebGL support and changes to Canvas2D.

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 justified. 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

    4.0

    out of 42 votes

    • 5 star 20
    • 4 star 9
    • 3 star 7
    • 2 star 3
    • 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

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1–10 of 42

5 stars

"Blazingly fast"

May 01, 2012  |  By baldinoase

 |  Version: Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142

Pros

there were some kinks as of late with an error message regarding the Https and its authentication. Even though the site I visited I knew and they had the s at the end of the http the error message popped up anyway and I had to click proceed anyway in order to proceed. I'm glad I know my sites that I visit and what their web addresses look like.

Cons

Time consuming when validating sites with questionable addresses I'm familiar with in the contents settings... window, there's the plug ins, java script, pop ups. Gotta get done, I know , its just a chore.There are some sites I visit that don't recognize Chrome and kick me out, when I go IE9 no problem, I can only assume it them not Chrome.

Summary

In a nutshell, I've tried a few browsers but none are as fluid as this and clarity and color, who could ask for more. I.m pleased and have been for years and looked forward to the upgrades I know will be coming.

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5 stars

"Good program, but Levy's snooping policies are bad."

April 30, 2012  |  By Terry Gay

 |  Version: Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142

Pros

It is a far superior program to IE9 that simply quit working on my computer after yet another security update. Chrome has plenty of bells and whistles and Google brings out fixes and new functions for it regularly.

Cons

In spite of the quality of Chrome, CEO Levy must think he is the Emperor Obama. Like Obama He believes he can do anything he wants to, and I hope the Google board gives him the boot and soon. Tracking Chrome users via wifi locations and using our cell phones to track our movements is just a wee too much like 1984 for my tastes.

I'm giving the Google board time to come to their senses over this. Selling information about our movements might be profitable, but not in the long run. Google has always prided itself on being a "good guy" company. What the hell happened? I suspect Levy.

Summary

Very good program, but very bad management. Keep the programmers and replace the CEO.

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5 stars

"I like this"

April 29, 2012  |  By 6969Robert6969

 |  Version: Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142

Pros

so fast!
extensions getting better.
fairly secure

Cons

-can't adjust extensions button anywhere other than the right of the browser
-pinned tabs kind of awkward (getting better)
-performance of plugins not too stellar at times

Summary

I would recommend this to other people. It is a pretty good browser.

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5 stars

"Fast and Safe"

April 27, 2012  |  By moviegeek65

 |  Version: Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142

Pros

Fast
Runs in sandbox mode
Lots of add-ons
Spell checker
Predictive address bar
Website compatibility
Automatically updates itself

Cons

Still no cache limiter or removal like other browsers

Summary

I have been using Chrome for three years now and it's faster and more compatible than IE, I just bought a Windows 7 PC and IE9 plain sucks. IE8 works much better than IE9 but Chrome is the best. Chrome runs fast on old XP PC's as well, it's also safer. I can't give Chrome five stars because it's a cache hog and there's no way to limit it, I have to use CCleaner to clean the cache. Come on Google even IE has those features.

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5 stars

"Excellent Browser"

April 26, 2012  |  By designerboy

 |  Version: Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142

Pros

Displays pages very well, many looking better in chrome than IE9 or Firefox
Fast, reasonably reliable, no worse than firefox or IE9
Spell checker - BRILLIANT
Adblock - See cats on april fools?? awesome!

Cons

Does crash if you do not update your java and flash players
Stable since updates though
Seems to display everything bigger than other browsers as default (100% zoom)
Not really a con I guess but worth mentioning

Summary

Very impressed, switched to this when IE8 was released. Never looked back. The features on this browser put it ahead of the competition. IE9 is faster however this is only true with all add ins disabled and does not have as many features at present.

Thoroughly recommend Google Chrome. Lets hope it stays this good when HTML5 is properly implemented.

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3 stars

"Hello Mozilla ....goodbye Google !!!"

April 26, 2012  |  By salesalex

 |  Version: Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142

Pros

Google is fast and easily managed browser with transparent interface.

Cons

Google chrome was crashing my adapter which did not work 'till I restart my computer. Usually it did that when I open some ''https'' web site ,but sometimes it hapend even during watching some youtube video etc...
Adapter had stop crashing after I've uninstaled Google.

Summary

I will install Google when I get some better computer ,'till that I will use other browsers , but after I've installed Mozilla and saw it's speed and simplicity maybe I won't install any other browser........Mozilla Firefox is the best (after I have istalled and uninstalled Google ,Opera ,Slim browser and Safari .........

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3 stars

"Works fast, but lacks easy tweaking with the browser..."

April 25, 2012  |  By AParakeet

 |  Version: Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142

Pros

As stated, it's fast, but I think at the expense of some additional power (so it may not be the best for a laptop running on a battery)

Cons

My main gripe with it is that you can't customize it in the way that you can with firefox's "about:config" ability. Recently the new tab page just got overridden by a website's page while I was trying out some toolbars, and there's no easy way to replace it back to the new tab page. Also, a separate con, it doesn't seem to be as fluid as firefox. It is more prone to flash plugin crashes than firefox, and when I open pages with some interactive things, such as mouse-roll-over drop down menus, I notice it is smoother in firefox and rather choppy in chrome (and opera too...)

Summary

Probably a fine browser for the majority of people, but for those who want some intermediate level of tweaking the browsers "inner workings," it rather limits you.

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5 stars

"Amazing Google invented THE actual best world browser!"

April 22, 2012  |  By mauron76

 |  Version: Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142

Pros

Almost everything! Chrome is fast, safe, efficient, simple to use, easy to configure, full of stuff for personalizing it... After starting with old-fashion and rubbish Explorer, I used Opera. But its lack of compatibility with other browsers and features made me change for Firefox. Besides there was a persistant add cookie I couldn't block on Opera... At that time I was a total freak of Firefox but found Chrome suspicious (if not weird!) for different kind of reasons (mainly security and simplicity). A sudden need to change my computer and the fact that I the sync function on Firefox didn't work and therefore that I had to reenter all my bookmarks and add-ons made me change my mind regarding Firefox! Seen that I had a Gmail address and that Chrome started to propose apps and add-ons I started to interest myself in this browser. And now I'm a freak of Chrome. I also thought that Firefox had more add-ons/options. But most of them are already set in Chrome! Eg. no need to restart Chrome!

Cons

- A few persistant bugs on the stable channel regarding Shockwave Flash Player for downloading videos! Or even crashes... But they seem to be more rare fortunately.
- Besides, DON'T try to play with the various Chrome channels Stable/Beta/Dev, passing from one to another as there may be several bugs after that. I experienced this kind of problems. Now I'm sticking to the stable version. On Firefox it is easy to pass from one version to another. But on Chrome NOT! Hopefully Chrome will soon resolve this kind of problems...
- It would be more logical if the key option (on the right) is set on the left of the screen! Or if its place (left or right) could be chosen in the options...

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5 stars

"I Just love it"

April 19, 2012  |  By rf1571

 |  Version: Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142

Pros

Really fast, like the bookmark bar, really fast loading. I have been a Firefox user for years but newer versions of firefox seem to take a very long time to load on my netbook. Chrom loads right away.

Cons

I really haven't found anything I didn't like.

Summary

I really think its the best browser. I hate Malware and with firefox and chrome i never get it, just downloaded ie9 jusr to see it and within 20 min had 21 malware.

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3 stars

"Starting to get annoying"

April 17, 2012  |  By jgreaud

 |  Version: Google Chrome 18.0.1025.142

Pros

Fairly quick

Cons

Do not like the "new look" which is supposedly going to be forced on us at some point. A new problem has showed up where I can not attach a file to an email.

Summary

Thinking about trying something else

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Results 1–10 of 42

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 18.0.1025.142
Version 18.0.1025.142 brings improvements to Canvas2D and WebGL functionality. This release brings better GPU-acceleration and also includes a software resterizer called SwiftShader.
General
Publisher Google
Publisher web site http://www.google.com/
Release Date March 28, 2012
Date Added March 28, 2012
Version 18.0.1025.142
Category
Category Browsers
Subcategory Web Browsers
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size Not Available
File Name UNKNOWN
Popularity
Total Downloads 25,364,213
Downloads Last Week 14,855
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

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