Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Download Editors' Rating:
4.5
Outstanding
Average User Rating:
3.7
out of 3088 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    25.0.1364.97
  • Total Downloads:
    25,461,134
  • Date Added:
    February 22, 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 25, offers highly competitive features, including synchronization, autofill, and standards compliance, and maintains Google's reputation for building one of the fastest browsers available.

Chrome 25 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 25 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, and Chrome 25 introduces mic support in the browser. This means that developers can build sites and Web apps that can incorporate audio from your onboard microphone. Previously, this required a separate plug-in. Chrome 25 also prevents third-party programs from installing extensions without your permission.

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

    2.8

    out of 11 votes

    • 5 star 2
    • 4 star 2
    • 3 star 3
    • 2 star 0
    • 1 star 4
  • 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 11

4 stars

"Preferred browser"

March 03, 2013  |  By Lensol

 |  Version: Google Chrome 25.0.1364.97

Pros

Fast. Great apps. Easy to use.

Cons

None that I can think of at this time.

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3 stars

"Always wanted to get into my account"

March 03, 2013  |  By menski

 |  Version: Google Chrome 25.0.1364.97

Pros

As send me link it doubles in 10 seconds

Cons

My CPU load very hard

Summary

Teperaturata rises

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1 stars

"Crashes all the time, not as fast as IE or FIrefox"

March 02, 2013  |  By gernaman001

 |  Version: Google Chrome 25.0.1364.97

Pros

Familiar, easy to use interface

Cons

Crashes very often, so much so that it is unusable

Summary

I am ditching this for IE, this is no longer a compelling product

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3 stars

"not convinced"

March 01, 2013  |  By kameosakura

 |  Version: Google Chrome 25.0.1364.97

Pros

erm - wish it would actually give me a reason to use it

Cons

found others to do search's better
i want to control my browsing not want to take a sledgehammer to the browser
i need a browser i can trust.

Summary

with the recent announcements from google about chrome im actually finding less reasons why i should use it or its successors.

A lot of my friends did crave about it at first but the more recent versions have just put me right off of it.

its had more updates than firefox so it should be a viable choice - just wish it were true.

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5 stars

"LOVE Google Chrome, had Firefox before"

February 28, 2013  |  By aloneinelcajon

 |  Version: Google Chrome 25.0.1364.97

Pros

Although I LOVED Mozilla Firefox, I couldn't right click & copy, I'd right click & nothing but dotted lines showed up, so had to GUESS which one was PASTE, COPY SAVE AS, etc...
Love the idea I can LOWER THE LIGHTS, too works great for watching HULU, etc.

Cons

ONE downfall? Mozilla Firefox HAS"lower the lights" located OFF the search bar, NOT INSIDE it, Google Chrome made it HARD for me to find it to use.

Summary

I use Google Chrome because I have Gmail, plus there's NOTHING I can't find on GOOGLE & they can keep their BING stuff, my loyalty is to GOOGLE. I haven't found ANYTHING better, so WHY search or change it now?
~Ms. Pat from El Cajon, CA.

Updated on Feb 28, 2013

I had to UNINSTALL Mozilla Firefox 3x's because it messed up my browser system, Google Chrome has rare to NEVER ever given me a problem, if they did, it was minor and fixed immediately if not sooner.

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1 stars

"The most overrated browser of them all"

February 26, 2013  |  By bldcc

 |  Version: Google Chrome 25.0.1364.97

Pros

It's fast, and the History is the best on Chrome and its cousins. It really does record the sites you land on, an area where Firefox needs a lot of improvement.

Cons

Firefox is able to handle literally hundreds of tabs for me well. Chrome has great trouble with just ten or so. The amount of plug-in crashes and unresponsiveness exceeds that of any of the many browsers I have used. It gets truly obnoxious.

I have been on the Chrome forums, and the volume of complaints about glitches on a daily basis is staggering.

They didn't include Google Toolbar on it. I would like handy, easy access to Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay, and the online dictionary.

Summary

Google has a lot of work to do in order to make Chrome one of the best browsers.

Updated on Feb 26, 2013

I said it's fast. That only applies when it's not freezing up in its commonplace plug-in unresponsiveness mode

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3 stars

"no longer my starting player"

February 26, 2013  |  By fyrmnjim

 |  Version: Google Chrome 25.0.1364.97

Pros

Fast, easy, familiar

Cons

constantly crashes with shockwave.

Summary

I've replaced with Firefox as my default due to Shockwaves constant crashing. I've reinstalled both along with patches and fixes to no avail. I have no time for this, too many other options out there.

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5 stars

"All in access and ergonomically simple to use"

February 24, 2013  |  By cleankicks11

 |  Version: Google Chrome 25.0.1364.97

Pros

Great add ins; security and features. Even better with new jelly bean android phones.

Cons

It makes me hate all other web browers

Summary

Great!!!!

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1 stars

"Crashes all the time! Terrible software ."

February 23, 2013  |  By zeoh417

 |  Version: Google Chrome 25.0.1364.97

Pros

Works just as fast as Internet Explorer and any other browser like Safari.

Cons

Terrible software .. a sad excuse for a spyware! It always ask me to give them my private email and password every time I open it! This is complete crap. Im not that stupid to actually let them spy on me.. It doesnt stop there.. after using it for just a day it kept on crashing! None of the forums or even costume service was any help.

Summary

I dont like this lousy browser. I mean this is complete crapware owned by a monoplistic corporate monster. Theres a variety of better browsers out there that runs as fast. Its unbelievable that people would fall to such a terrible software.

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4 stars

"Google Chrome 25"

February 22, 2013  |  By SPCM2012

 |  Version: Google Chrome 25.0.1364.97

Pros

Is a good browser, simple , customimizable

Cons

Sometimes we have toreload some games

Summary

Is a good browser, simple to use and can be use without fears

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Results 1–10 of 11

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Full Specifications

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What's new in version 25.0.1364.97
Version 25.0.1364.97 includes improvements in managing and securing your extensions and support for JavaScript Web Speech API.
General
Publisher Google
Publisher web site http://www.google.com/
Release Date February 21, 2013
Date Added February 22, 2013
Version 25.0.1364.97
Category
Category Browsers
Subcategory Web Browsers
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP, Windows, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista
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

Previous Versions:

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