Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Download Editors' Rating:
5
Spectacular
Average User Rating:
3.7
out of 3088 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    19.0.1084.52
  • Total Downloads:
    25,438,517
  • Date Added:
    May 23, 2012
  • File Size:
    Not available
  • Downloads Last Week:
    24,330
  • Operating Systems:
    Windows XP/Vista/7

Editors' Review

+

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 19, offers highly competitive features, including synchronization, autofill, and standards compliance, and maintains Google's reputation for building one of the fastest browsers available.

Chrome 19 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 19 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 19'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.

You can now sync tabs and their browsing histories to other computers and devices in Chrome 19. This includes Chrome for Android, expected to leave beta soon.

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

    2.7

    out of 12 votes

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

    3.7

    out of 3088 votes

    • 5 star 1197
    • 4 star 790
    • 3 star 442
    • 2 star 249
    • 1 star 410
  • My rating

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1–10 of 12

1 stars

"Hate this "Minimalistic" browser"

February 11, 2014  |  By eatdrumz

 |  Version: Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52

Pros

Fast
Opens

Cons

Extensions Suck
Ram Hog
As Intuitive as flying the Space Shuttle
Spyware

Summary

When you turn to Opera, of SeaMonkey to get some quick browsing done, you know Chrome has bit the dust.
No browser is as frustrating to use as this CPU hog, crashing, piece of garbage. The extensions are useless. Say what you might about Firefox, but their extensions like "Cool Preview," image magnifiers, and pop up blockers work like a charm. This waste of hard drive space should be scrapped.

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2 stars

"The Shine Has Worn Off"

January 18, 2014  |  By johnbgood52

 |  Version: Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52

Pros

It's free.

Cons

Buggy, unstable, frequent crashes and freezes, hogs RAM and CPU, not highly configurable, simplistic "minimalist" interface not for everyone ... the list goes on.

Summary

There was a time when, if you wanted a fast, simple browser with no bells and whistles, Chrome was the hands-down winner. Those days are past. There are far better choices available.

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1 stars

"Chrome has bit the big one"

August 04, 2012  |  By rcmmulti

 |  Version: Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52

Pros

NoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNeNoNe

Cons

They shouldn't make software like this not everybody can run out and buy a new computer
to run something that is used on a daily bases
and is a memory & cpu hog even with a new computer its counter productive. The guy that wrote that last comment probable work for Chrome!
What a Chump!!!!!!!!!!!

Summary

It stupid to push technology too fast before they figure where the screwed-up

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1 stars

"Comodo Dragon"

June 11, 2012  |  By ElObomo

 |  Version: Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52

Pros

It's better than IE8.

Cons

Google tracking devices, Google bloat, Humongous disk footprint, Massive memory usage.

Summary

Comodo Dragon has half the memory usage, half the drive footprint, no Google spyware, should be no surprise it is half-a-second faster in url-page loading. Do a split screen and see for yourself how Dragon blows away the has-been Google Chrome. Maxthon 3 also blows Google Chrome away.

Updated on Jun 11, 2012

Comodo Dragon!

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5 stars

"quick draw mcgraw"

June 09, 2012  |  By 1234hug

 |  Version: Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52

Pros

leaves firefox in the dust...quick start up...

Cons

why doesn't adblock plus work incognito mode...people say it uses alot of memory...but i don't see notice any performance lost...

Summary

just might be the quickest browser on the planet...it probably is...

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1 stars

"Internet Explorer is better. Now that's pretty bad."

June 09, 2012  |  By Windows7fan527

 |  Version: Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52

Pros

Fast but......

Cons

Unstable, terrible for internet games, built in flash crashes a lot, shockwave crashes a lot too, and pretty much anything else that can crash crashes on this browser. Basically it has terrible stability issues.

Summary

I've used Firefox,IE,Opera, and this browser and out of all of them this is the absolute worst. It does not fit my needs of internet browsing. It's ok if you do simple internet browsing, but if you want something more advanced go with firefox. If you want true speed go with opera.

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3 stars

"Good thing gone bad."

June 08, 2012  |  By ne0ne0

 |  Version: Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52

Pros

Fast, safe and user friendly.

Cons

Chrome was slowly turning into a resource hog and this version completes the transition. With just the Google home page open, the browser consumes over 150MB RAM and has at least 3 processes running. Also, the number of memory related crashes have increased in Chrome 19. Finally, as always, there is no "disable auto-update" option and it updates stealthily like malware.

I guess its high time Google introduced a "Chrome lite"- without apps, extensions, webstore, syncing and auto update.

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4 stars

"Outstanding browser but has its flaws!"

June 04, 2012  |  By techynerd20

 |  Version: Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52

Pros

Chrome has an excellently simple interface, with no clutter, compared to browsers like IE, making your browsing experience easier! It also loads pages fairly quickly and has a great choice of "extensions", to improve your Chrome experience further.

Cons

The biggest con is that it is a HUGE RAM hogger, which isn't good for slightly older PC's. It can slow it down hugely, and this is a really bad point for me, as I love Chrome. In previous versions, the RAM usage has been fine but since the new features and Web Store, ect have been added, it's resource-hogging has increased dramatically.

Summary

Overall, Chrome is a magnificent browser with so many great features, all it needs to do now is improve its RAM usage, and I will be in full support of Chrome again. :)

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5 stars

"Google's Chrome:Very few Flaws"

June 02, 2012  |  By CNETproductions

 |  Version: Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52

Pros

-Fast
-Miminal interface
-Good HTML5 support
-Quick DOwnload
-Quick Startup

Cons

-TAkes A LOT of memory and RAM

Summary

Google Chrome remains the top alternative for IE. It's claimed for the best and most used browser and has many features. Only thing it needs improvement on is it's large memory usage.

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5 stars

"The best browser I've ever used"

June 01, 2012  |  By joebus666

 |  Version: Google Chrome 19.0.1084.52

Pros

Everything, pretty much.

Cons

No home button by default
F11 doesn't work

Summary

I used to be a Firefox 3.6 user, which was at the time quick, versatile and user friendly. This all changed though when I upgraded to Firefox 4. It was now slow, buggy, crash prone. So I thought I'd try Chrome instead. I was instantly amazed.

The first thing that struck me was the interface, it is very clean looking, even on the Windows classic theme. It loaded up in about 2 seconds, compared to about 15 seconds for Firefox 4. The add-ons are in vast supply as well, which I didn't expect. It is also very stable, each tab runs in a separate process, so if one crashes, none of the others do. The downloads bar is also very good.

The only 2 criticisms I have about this browser is the fact that there isn't a home button by default, and how F11 doesn't work like in other applications.

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Results 1–10 of 12

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 19.0.1084.52
Version 19.0.1084.52 includes security fixes.
General
Publisher Google
Publisher web site http://www.google.com/
Release Date May 23, 2012
Date Added May 23, 2012
Version 19.0.1084.52
Category
Category Browsers
Subcategory Web Browsers
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows, Windows Vista
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size Not Available
File Name UNKNOWN
Popularity
Total Downloads 25,438,517
Downloads Last Week 24,330
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

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