Just about every Mac you’d see in operation nowadays has a 64-bit CPU tucked inside. Apple started making the switch from 32-bit to 64-bit nearly a decade ago, after all.
And yet, Chrome has always stubbornly insisted on running at 32-bit on OS X. That’ll change soon.
Two days after declaring the Windows’ version of 64-Bit Chrome as “stable”, Google has just published the first beta build of 64-Bit Chrome for Mac. (The only way to get 64-bit support before this was to run Canary, the ultra-early adopter build of Chrome that comes with explicit warnings that it’ll probably crash constantly. It’s not even guaranteed to launch.)
As with most things that come to Chrome, 64-Bit support will be limited to users on the Beta channel at first. So it’s still not part of the standard build of Chrome that most people use, but it’s at least available in a form that isn’t likely to break on the regular.
So what’s the advantage of going 64-bit? To be honest, most users probably won’t notice Chrome itself getting any faster (though it might launch a bit quicker)… but it might actually help your overall system run a bit smoother.
You see, pretty much all modern, popular OS X apps are 64-bit. When you launch a 32-bit app like Chrome, the system has to load a whole bunch of junk into memory to support it. Assuming that you’re not running any other 32-bit apps, Chrome’s newfound 64-bit friendliness means that memory footprint is now free’d up for other uses. Hurrah!