updated 11:35 am EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Google promises 'number of speed and security improvements'
For Mac users, the latest beta channel release of Chrome -- Chrome 38 -- makes the switch to a 64-bit codebase, Google has announced. The primary benefit is said to be speed, since it grants access to "a superior instruction set, more registers, and a more efficient function calling convention," according to Google. The company points out that in some cases Chrome can be the only 32-bit app that's running, forcing OS X to load 32-bit system libraries that consume extra memory and launch time.
Chrome for Mac is in fact dropping support for 32-bit NPAPI plugins, though 64-bit versions will be supported until NPAPI is stripped from Chrome entirely later this year. Google hints that Chrome 37 may be the last or next-to-last edition of the browser capable of running on first-generation Intel Macs.
The Windows beta channel is already on a 64-bit codebase. That could mean that the final release of Chrome 38 will adopt the technology as well.