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Chrome develops a lot faster than most other browsers out there, and one reason for this is that Google allows users to opt into beta versions of the browser and uses their feedback to make quick iterations and fixes.
But instead of just two versions (stable and beta), Chrome actually offers four versions, called channels:
- Stable — Only has features that have been well-tested. Not many bugs or glitches except for the occasional few that pass through the cracks.
- Beta — Somewhat stable, but receives updates with more frequency than the Stable channel. Safe to use but you may experience crashes from time to time.
- Dev — Contains experimental features that may or may not make it through to the Beta channel. Less stable than the Beta channel, too.
- Canary — Contains cutting-edge features that have not been quality-tested at all. Expect it to crash more often than not, or break entirely and require reinstallation.
Want to know which channel you’re on? Click on the options menu and select Settings, then navigate to the About section. Your version number will say Beta, Dev, or Canary next to it. If it doesn’t, you’re on the Stable channel.
How do you switch channels? Visit the Chrome Release Channels page and download the installer for the channel you want. For best results, first uninstall your current version of Chrome.
Note that channel switching is risky and some bugs or glitches may cause you to lose profile data (bookmarks, setting, etc.) so do so at your own risk. The only way to run two versions side by side is to have one Stable install and one Canary install.
Which version of Chrome are you using? Do you care about trying the latest features ASAP or are you okay with waiting? Share with us below!