Slowly but surely, the 64-bit version of Google's browser is inching toward production readiness. As of yesterday, beta versions of 64-bit Chrome for Windows are available in a new release channel, which you can join by heading to this page.
64-bitness opens the door to greater memory allocation, naturally, but it also has other advantages for Chrome. Google outlined some of those advantages when it launched the 64-bit Chrome alpha channel last month:
- Speed: 64-bit allows us to take advantage of the latest processor and compiler optimizations, 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.
- Security: With Chrome able to take advantage of the latest OS features such as High Entropy ASLR on Windows 8, security is improved on 64-bit platforms as well. 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.
- Stability: Finally, we’ve observed a marked increase in stability for 64-bit Chrome over 32-bit Chrome. In particular, crash rates for the the renderer process (i.e. web content process) are almost half that of 32-bit Chrome.
I use Chrome as part of my day-to-day TR work, so I'm a little reluctant to hop on the beta channel just yet. At this rate, though, we'll get a stable 64-bit release before long—and I'm definitely looking forward to that.