Friday, 28 March 2014

Explanation of Chrome Channels

I recently asked you guys to tell me which Chrome Channel you use by liking, +1ing or answering directly on my blog. The most popular answer was "I don't know".

The other four options were Stable, Beta, Dev, and Other.

Chrome has a number of different Channels, with different levels of features and stability. The general rule is that the further you get from the Stable Channel, the more features you get, at the cost of stability. These Channels apply to Chrome across most platforms, such as Windows, Mac, Chromebooks, and Android.

Chances are, if you don't know which Channel you are using, you're probably on the Stable Channel. This is the default Channel, and is updated every six weeks or so. It is the slowest to receive features, but, as the name suggests, is the least likely to misbehave. It is currently at version 33.

The Beta Channel is a bit less stable than the Stable Channel, and is updated more often. I've generally found the Beta Channel to have slightly better performance than the Stable Channel, although that could well be a placebo. The Beta Channel also tends to be roughly 1 version ahead of the Stable Channel. The Beta Channel's current version is 34.

The Dev Channel is to the Beta Channel what the Beta Channel is to the Stable Channel. It gets features way before the Stable version, although it does tend to be quite unstable. Its current version is 35.

You may have noticed the Other option. This was to cater for Chromium builds, and for the Canary builds. Chromium is the open-source programme that Google Chrome is based on. In essence, the main difference is that Chrome is distributed by Google, while you can build Chromium yourself, if you so wish. The Canary builds, meanwhile, is even more cutting-edge than the Dev Channel, and definitely not for the faint-of-heart. Features are pushed to it without any testing and you're expected to do the testing yourself.

Hopefully this will make things a little clearer for those of you who answered "I don't know".