A Brief Guide to Google Chrome Release Channels

It’s hard to tell when Google Chrome has been updated – unless the changes are very obvious – because it supports an automatic updating mechanism. With the newest update – version 59 – the modifications were quite clear given it now sports a Material Design user interface. Every update has passed through certain channels until it is rolled out to your browser or device. These are the different channels in the life of a Google Chrome release:

  • Stable Channel – If you have updated your browser, your version will come from this channel. The program in this channel has been fully tested and is stable. That said, stable here doesn’t imply the version isn’t without its faults – after all, this is software and something is expected to fail, be it a minor case or a major one. Errors and issues found with this version will be corrected in future updates (usually every two to three weeks).

A major release can be expected roughly every six weeks. The current major release is Chrome 59, which was rolled out in early June with a few minor updates since then.

  • Beta Channel – This is the channel for the more adventurous user as this is where the Chrome team release a version that functions like a preview of things to come. It’s fairly stable in a sense that there’s a good chance it won’t crash the second it’s launched. Currently, the channel is on version 60, which is the next major Chrome update and can be expected towards the end of July.
  • Dev Channel – While the adventurous user might still find this release interesting, it has to be said that trying out this version comes with certain risks. Why is that? Well, this channel features the version the Chrome team is working on at this moment. Updates are done once or twice a week so you can definitely except some bugs when you switch to using this version.
  • Canary Build – This is definitely for the most daring users, the ones who don’t care what has been thrown in. Basically, use at your own peril – or the peril of your system more like. This channel is updated daily and features a Chrome version that has not yet been tested or used.

Switching Between Channels

A good advice would be to tell you to just wait for the stable release to roll out. After all, Chrome does it automatically and in the background (you won’t be alerted, in most cases anyway). But there are some who like taking risks and seeing what else is out there, and here’s how you do it:

  • Go to the Chrome Release Channels page
  • Find the channel that you’d like to try out under the system you are running (the channels are grouped under Windows 64-bit, Windows 32-bit, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux).

Google Chrome is one of the best web browsers available thanks to its speed and available features. Plus, you can do fun stuff with it.

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