Google Chrome

Google Chrome

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

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    24.0.1312.57
  • Total Downloads:
    25,461,134
  • Date Added:
    February 06, 2013
  • File Size:
    Not available
  • Downloads Last Week:
    23,099
  • Operating Systems:
    Windows XP/Vista/7/8

Editors' 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 23, offers highly competitive features, including synchronization, autofill, and standards compliance, and maintains Google's reputation for building one of the fastest browsers available.

Chrome 23 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. Although you used to be able to toggle this easily, Chrome now splits up the anonymous data tracking options into multiple categories. You can toggle these from the Preferences menu (the three-line icon to the right of the location bar) under Settings, Advanced Settings, then Privacy Options. 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, a combined Stop/Reload button, and Home. 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.

The former Wrench icon for accessing settings has been replaced with the Android-styled "three-line" design. Settings open in a new tab, with many additional options available under various "advanced settings" links. It's not the best layout, and it's easy to get lost in the configuration woods as Google moves options around. 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.

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 23 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.

Incognito, known in other browsers as "private mode" and to the cognoscenti as "porn mode," does not prevent your Internet service provider from peeking in on your Web traffic.

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 delete Flash cookies from Chrome, which makes sense given that Chrome comes with Flash built in, and there's a Safe Browsing protection against downloading malicious files. Chrome's Web app support now includes the capability 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. You can also change plug-ins like Flash from loading automatically to click-to-run, both a security feature and a page-load time saver.

There's Native Client, too. Also known as NaCl, it's open-source technology developed by Google 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 capability 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.

Although Chrome has a poor reputation for privacy because of its Google origins, it actually does offer a lot of privacy-tweaking settings. 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). Still, that's not going to be enough for many people. If you're not comfortable using Chrome because of privacy concerns, we recommend the independent browsers Firefox or Opera.

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

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 20 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 23.

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 in which 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.

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," which means 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 capability 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

    3.2

    out of 9 votes

    • 5 star 2
    • 4 star 3
    • 3 star 1
    • 2 star 1
    • 1 star 2
  • 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

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Results 1–9 of 9

3 stars

"All good things come to an end"

February 14, 2013  |  By jscott418

 |  Version: Google Chrome 24.0.1312.57

Pros

Fast as any browser out there

Cons

Intermittent crashes with Flash video. Pushes too hard to nag about a Google account or making Google.com Home page
Some web page buttons are broken or have limited area for clicking.
I have to click several times a button to record a click.

Summary

I used to think Chrome was THE browser for just about everyone.
But now I refrain from bragging too much about it. I think some things Google did with Chrome did advance the browser. But now things like intergrated Flash player have only made more problems.
Actually the more I end up back with IE9 I develop much more of a respect for it. The ideal of such a long update period between browser versions. Does turn off many from IE. But now I find that maybe these frequent updates like Google and Mozilla do are not the best way of providing a solid browser. Maybe they get feature improvements faster. But haven't Chrome and Firefox developed more stability problems with that?

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1 stars

"Brilliant BUT UNBELIEVABLY FRUSTRATING"

February 13, 2013  |  By jasdinh213

 |  Version: Google Chrome 24.0.1312.57

Pros

Good at almost everything

Cons

Ridiculous when it comes to crashing. An absoulute joke, it will drive you crazy and end up switching to Mozzila or IE. They do not even bother to reply to the large amount of people who have to same problem with the shockwave crashing, if they do they just give stupid advice like restart to computer.

Summary

No point of the software, I have never reviewed any software in my life, but this web browser got me so angry I had to give it a bad review. It's stupid and they need to work on the crashing problems and not try to add new features when they already have current big problems.

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1 stars

"NO Way, Don't do it."

February 12, 2013  |  By Gryphonsdream

 |  Version: Google Chrome 24.0.1312.57

Pros

Free, small HD foot print, at first any how

Cons

Add were, you will recieve adds on the miriad of web pages you visit.
ou may opt in for an add were remover that will remove the adds that google chrome is adding but you have to give it access to your account info, tabs and personal information. hell no.

Summary

if GC wasn'e crap enough as it was
WELL, HELLO,
***, NOW I HAVE TO ADD THE GOOGLE ADD REMOVER JUST TO GET RID OF GOOGLE ADDS ON A BROWSER
CAN I SAY NO THANK YOU FAST ENOUGH.
NO, I AM NOT GIVING GOOGLE ACCESS TO MY ACCOUNT.
NO, I AM NOT GIVING GOOGLE ACCESS TO MY TABS.
NO, I AM NOT GIVING GOOGLE PERMISSION TO REMOTLY ACCESS MY COMPUTER.
NO, I AM NOT GIVING GOOGLE MY ACOUNT INFORMATION
REPOST THIS AND SHARE IF YOU AGREE,
GOOGLE NEED TO QUIT WITH THEIR ADDON APPS.

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2 stars

"A so-so browser"

February 12, 2013  |  By wyzwyk

 |  Version: Google Chrome 24.0.1312.57

Pros

Chrome is very fast both starting and rendering web pages.

Cons

1) minimalist Gui
2) not as customizable as desired
3) I have privacy concerns in dealing with Google

Summary

I can't stand the minimalist GUI Chrome uses, and compared to Firefox this browser feels limiting. Simply put, I can't customize it to work the way I can with Mozilla's Firefox. Others may put Chrome on a pedestal and worship it, but I think it's a 2nd-rate offering from a company that "saves" far too much information about users; a backup browser at best.

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4 stars

"Fast and slim"

February 12, 2013  |  By fhansson999

 |  Version: Google Chrome 24.0.1312.57

Pros

+ Fast even on older computers
+ Nice themes
+ Slim and minimalistic

Cons

- Not so many addons as Firefox
- Strange menus
- Not so very polished as others

Summary

Chrome is a fast and slim browser but I don't use it for the user interface is a but cumbersome. Menus are strange and I find it a bit too minimalistic at times.

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4 stars

"Shame about the hijacker"

February 11, 2013  |  By Chris-Shaw

 |  Version: Google Chrome 24.0.1312.57

Pros

I prefer Google Chrome to Internet Explorer; it is more versatile and user friendly.

Cons

Unfortunately I have had to uninstall the new Google Chrome I downloaded as it has picked up a hijacker virus in the form of Iminent search bar/tab which downloaded itself and attached to my previous version of Google Chrome. And this even though I had removed all visible traces of Iminent. It even attached itself to Google Chrome on my laptop even though the desktop and laptop hadnot been in any contact apart from sharing an email address. Fortunately it does not seem to be affecting Internet Explorer.

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5 stars

"I now use this over Firefox. Which I used all the time"

February 09, 2013  |  By minis76

 |  Version: Google Chrome 24.0.1312.57

Pros

Does not keep crashing like firefox.

Cons

Not sure I've found any yet.

Summary

Firefox used to be my first choice as a browser. Till I installed this on a computer I had built.
Have not looked back since.

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4 stars

"I use it for 5 years"

February 09, 2013  |  By menski

 |  Version: Google Chrome 24.0.1312.57

Pros

I like the browser

Cons

I have a problem with online play. I see double entries.

Summary

I love it.

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5 stars

"on top of the ranking"

February 06, 2013  |  By nickerj

 |  Version: Google Chrome 24.0.1312.57

Pros

thank you google.
IE almost killed us out of frustration
FF gave us hope and
Chrome finally gave us the life we deserved as technology beings

Cons

sometimes crashes

Summary

very fast, consumes too much memory but releases the memory once closing each tab
the other two still don't know how todo it.

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Results 1–9 of 9

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 24.0.1312.57
Version 24.0.1312.57 fixes shortcut creation when running as SYSTEM and CreateOrUpdateShortcut no longer attempts to get the per-user shortcut paths when there is no need.
General
Publisher Google
Publisher web site http://www.google.com/
Release Date February 05, 2013
Date Added February 06, 2013
Version 24.0.1312.57
Category
Category Browsers
Subcategory Web Browsers
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size Not Available
File Name UNKNOWN
Popularity
Total Downloads 25,461,134
Downloads Last Week 23,099
Pricing
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

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