Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Download Editors' Rating:
5
Spectacular
Average User Rating:
3.7
out of 3091 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    22.0.1229.79
  • Total Downloads:
    25,508,521
  • Date Added:
    Sep. 26, 2012
  • Price:
    Free
  • File Size:
    Not available
  • Downloads Last Week:
    23,876
  • Platform:
    Windows
  • Product ranking:
    #2 in Web Browsers

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

Chrome 20 represents a major milestone for the browser, but those expecting to see dramatic changes in major version-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.

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.

There's also Chrome for Android and Chrome for iOS. 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 to 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 20'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 sync tabs and their browsing histories to other computers and devices such as Android and iOS in Chrome 20.

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

    3.4

    out of 16 votes

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

    3.7

    out of 3091 votes

    • 5 star 1197
    • 4 star 791
    • 3 star 443
    • 2 star 249
    • 1 star 411
  • My rating

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1–10 of 16

5 stars

"The Best Browser Created"

October 06, 2012  |  By TechXpression

 |  Version: Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79

Pros

Fast, Sleek, Modern, Customizable

Cons

NOTHING AT ALL

Summary

This browser can be summed up in one word:

AWESOME!

If you're in search of a fast browser that is ready for the 21st century, then all you have to do is click "Download".

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4 stars

"Awesome browser"

October 06, 2012  |  By jkazim123

 |  Version: Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79

Pros

Fast
Simple (my grandparents could use it)
Settings/Bookmarks

Cons

Needs to suck up less RAM

Summary

Very good browser.

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5 stars

"mnogopo dobar e sega"

October 06, 2012  |  By daniboi2010

 |  Version: Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79

Pros

po barzo se otvarq i za sega ne dava bagove i neka da ima splash player za chrometo

Cons

da ima poveche temi i vizualizaciq

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4 stars

"Google Chrome seems to be crashing more these days."

October 05, 2012  |  By ThatGuy90

 |  Version: Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79

Pros

fast, sleek, awesome, bookmarks/settings sync

Cons

seems to be crashing more and more these days.. at least a couple times a day.

Summary

awesome browser but google needs to get back on track.

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4 stars

"Plays well with AVG free."

October 05, 2012  |  By stevie1972p

 |  Version: Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79

Pros

Very easy to use and the tab setup is just about perfect.Almost no learning curve necessary.

Cons

I'm not really fond of the favorites function compared to Internet Explorer,but I tend to use Chrome most of the time.Crashes and gives an error message-using too much memory if more than 6 tabs are open.

Summary

The new version seems slower than the older one.Text is quick,but there is a wait between clicking on a link and actually getting something to open.Running XP Home sp3,3 gig dual core Pentium 4 with 6 gigs of ram.and dual sata hard drives.

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1 stars

"Worse Than A Virus"

October 05, 2012  |  By filmmaker100

 |  Version: Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79

Pros

The only thing good to say about Google Chrome is that it works like any other browser until you want to download.

Cons

You cannot download exe programs (ie software) with chrome.
The web is awash with complaints and the absurd security extension that stops ALL downloads.
You cannot even download another browser since chrome blocks this also.

Summary

Chrome is like having a virus on your computer thant prevents downloading programs and prevents you changing the browser. The developers should be arrested for fraud .

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5 stars

"Works well, much faster than internet explorer"

October 04, 2012  |  By txjerry

 |  Version: Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79

Pros

fast and simple to use

Cons

fine control

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3 stars

"too much memory in use"

October 04, 2012  |  By lauradaaa

 |  Version: Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79

Pros

works very well

Cons

to much memory

Summary

there are better

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1 stars

"Increasing Hardware Acceleration"

October 03, 2012  |  By hfgottlieb

 |  Version: Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79

Pros

There are none.

Cons

Onboard graphics can not handle the acceleration. Causes the computer to slow down Chrome over time and prevents it from printing in color.

Summary

After years of using Chrome I had to uninstall it.

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5 stars

"Eh bien, simple and minimalisitc."

October 01, 2012  |  By Domovoi_Butler

 |  Version: Google Chrome 22.0.1229.79

Pros

Google Chrome is simple.
Minimalistic.
Useful.
Fast.
Outstanding.

Cons

No proof of security features.
Sucks up your RAM.
Not good for laptops (as reasoned above)
Crashes (all browsers do :P)

Summary

Google has done a good job at sucking up other people's bandwidth and using it for yourself.

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Results 1–10 of 16

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Full Specifications

+
What's new in version 22.0.1229.79
Version 22.0.1229.79 includes Mouse Lock API availability for Javascript, additional Windows 8 enhancements, and continued polish for users of HiDPI/Retina screens.
General
Publisher Google
Publisher web site http://www.google.com/
Release Date September 26, 2012
Date Added September 26, 2012
Version 22.0.1229.79
Category
Category Browsers
Subcategory Web Browsers
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size Not Available
File Name UNKNOWN
Popularity
Total Downloads 25,508,521
Downloads Last Week 23,876
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

Previous Versions:

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