Google has set up the path for development of 64-bit Chrome with Tuesday’s announcement of test builds of a 64-bit version of Chrome on its Dev and Canary channels. The build is currently available for Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs.
On the Chromium blog, Google Software Engineer Will Harris, says this is all about “giving a faster and more secure browsing experience.”
Installing the test build doesn’t erase your settings and bookmarks, so the transition shouldn’t be all that difficult. But if you are running a stable version of Chrome (which is most likely) there will be a few things different in the Canary or Dev build.
Google says the 64-bit Chrome allows users and developers to utilise the power of the latest processor and compiler optimisations. “A more modern instruction set, and a calling convention that allows more function parameters to be passed quickly by registers. As a result, speed is improved, especially in graphics and multimedia content, where we see an average 25% improvement in performance,” Harris said.
Describing the security advantages of 64-bit Chrome, Harris says Windows 8’s new features such as High Entropy ASLR has resulted in improved security. “Those extra bits also help us better defend against exploitation techniques such as JIT spraying, and improve the effectiveness of our existing security defense features like heap partitioning,” Harris elaborated.
Listing the stability advantages, Google claims that it has observed a marked increase in stability in the 64-bit Chrome over the 32-bit Chrome. The crash rate is said to have reduced by half compared to the 32-bit version. Google says crash rates for the renderer process almost half that of 32-bit Chrome, which sounds very encouraging.
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