Running a 64-bit version of Windows? If so, you can’t have helped but noticed there’s been a lack of native 64-bit support in Google Chrome — until now.

Google has today announced native 64-bit builds of Chrome for Windows 7 and 8, albeit restricted to those running development and Canary channels.

Development Versions

64-bit hasn’t been this cool since March ’97

Sharing the news, Google Software Engineer Will Harris says that the majority of Chrome users already run systems primed for 64-bit applications. By switching to compatible builds these folks will be able to benefit from a ‘faster and more secure browsing experience’.

Harris touts performance improvements of up to 25% in graphics and multimedia content handling, as well as a ‘marked increase in stability’ over the browser’s 32-bit counterpart.

“Crash rates for the renderer process (i.e. web content process) are almost half that of 32-bit Chrome,” he writes.

By being able to leverage the full hardware capabilities of the underlying system, peppier performance gains are to be expected.

Chrome has offered 64-bit builds on Linux since around 2009. Mac users are currently still waiting, despite Apple’s own browser Safari being available in 64-bit since 2009.

Download Google Chrome 64-bit for Windows

Like all development features, Google is first introducing 64-bit support to Chrome on Windows through the developer and Canary channels. Developers are being invited to try the builds for size and offer feedback so that 64-bit support is rock solid by the time it filters on down to the beta and stable channels.

To download Google Chrome 64-bit head over to the respective Canary or Dev download page.

I recommend using the Canary Channel. While a little more raw (read: buggier) than Dev it can safely run alongside a regular, stable version of Chrome — meaning if Canary goes beak-up your settings, bookmarks, etc. will remain unaffected.  For more on why Canary is pretty awesome see our earlier article.

Download Google Chrome (Canary) 64-bit for Windows

Development Google Chrome 64bit canary dev channel windows