Google is offering early 64-bit versions of its Chrome web browser to the general public, via its Canary and Dev channels, for the first time for Windows 7 and 8 PCs. That includes Microsoft's Surface Pro tablets which use Intel's Core processors inside.

In a post on the Chromium blog, Google pointed out that the majority of its users on Windows 7 have PC systems that are already capable of running 64-bit applications. These early development versions of Chrome should have a number of improvements compared to their 32-bit counterparts.

One of those improvements is pure speed, with the blog claiming that the 64-bit version of Chrome has a 25 percent boost in performance. It should also be more stable than the 32-bit port of Chrome, with Google claiming that crash rates have been cut down by almost half.

The 64-bit version of Chrome should be more secure than the 32-bit version. Google says:

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.

It should be noted that Windows 7 and 8 users who download the 64-bit ports will see it replace the 32-bit version if it is already installed. However, it will import all of the older setting and bookmarks.

Naturally, there will be a number of bugs in these early Canary and Dev releases, so users will have to download and install these Chrome builds at their own risk. However, it's likely that Google will launch the 64-bit Windows Chrome browsers to its Beta channel, and finally to its Stable channel, in the near future.

Source: Chromium blog