Vendors of large software release their programs in a variety of channels designed to serve different purposes, and so does Google and releases Chrome in quite a few flavors.
The “About” page is where you can find all the information on the version number of your Chrome browser, its channel, and instruction set.
Click your chrome’s “Menu” (the stack of three dots located in the upper-right corner of the browser window), then select Help > About Google Chrome.
You will see the version along with a number and some values in round brackets. If you haven’t updated your Chrome in a while, it may initiate a download and tell you to re-launch once it’s done.
So what does all this information mean? Let’s get into the bits and pieces one at a time.
First Two Digits and the Version Number
Google rolls out bi-monthly or so releases that fall in the larger category; they’re what they mean by “Version”. These releases carry the change to the user-end features and the interface. The first two digits in the string denote the big version bump. For instance, the computer in the picture above has “Chrome 56”, in which HTML5 became default, and CSS tools support and Bluetooth API settings were added.
Stability and Release Channels
The version identifier in the standard edition of Chrome is a number. However, if it’s followed by words like Canary, Dev, or Beta, you’re using a pre-release Chrome. Here’s what they exactly are.
If there’s no other identifier after the version number, you have the stable version of Chrome on your machine like – most of the people use the same. This version undergoes the most extensive testing. The new features come its way in the last, but it’s the first in the stable’s tally.
This version gets regular (approximately weekly) updates on top of some big six-weekly updates and is only followed by a release. So Chrome Beta is 52 when the stable Chrome is 51.
The Dev version has updates once a week and is a step or two in the lead to stable. It’s meant for guinea pigging wide-ranging changes that Google may or may not stream into the general public release. Thus, be ready for it to crash, render errors, mess with extension, and behave funny on certain websites.
This thing, that gets its updates a daily basis, is not one, not two, but three versions in the lead to the stable package; it’s developers’ playground. It’s different from Beta and Dev versions in the way that you can run it on Windows or Mac without it overwriting your Chrome’s installation files – like another program.
Memory Usage on 32-Bit and 64-Bit
Lastly, there will be “32-bit” or “64-bit” next to numbers denoting the version in round brackets. If your system is 64-bit compatible, then get the 64-bit version. Not only is the 64-bit version – now default on macOS and Linux, efficient because of ample memory but also more secure.
Upgrading or Downgrading Chrome
If you want migrate from Stable version to Beta and so forth, you can straight up install the package from Google’s website. However, to downgrade, you’ll have to altogether uninstall your browser, and then reinstall the older version – except in the case of Canary, which is stand-alone package.
On iOS and Android, all versions are stand-alone applications. You can run them all side by side.