THREAT REMOVAL

Switching Chrome Channels and Testing New Features

Hand typing on computer keyboardThe most modern and cool new features of Google Chrome are available to those users that are not afraid to test new things that are still in development and far from being officially released. The new features are available to users who are not afraid to risk the stability of their computers. The process of switching channels requires just a few careful steps and the user can easily go back to the stable version if one is not happy with the new one.

Chrome channels

Chrome, as experts say, has four separate versions – the so called channels which are Beta, Stable, Dev and Canary. When the user installs Chrome from the official website of Google, then most probably one is running the stable channel. The user can easily check which Chrome version one is running by checking the settings menu. Along with the Stable channel, the Beta channel is considered stable too. It gets more updates and new features on a frequent basis before they are released on the public version.

Compared to the Beta channel, the Dev channel is more experimental. On this channel Google tests the new features of Chrome before offering them to the general public. This channel should be checked if you want to see what is new, yet through this channel the browser often crushes. The channel for those who live closest to the edge is Canary one, which may break completely and often. If the user wants to find out on which channel one is, the user should click on the settings menu with the icon of three horizontal bars and select “About Google Chrome”, then one will find out whether one is using Stable, Beta, Dev or Canary channel and will see the version number.

How to switch the channels

The Chrome channels can be downloaded at any time or could be switched to new ones. In order to do so, the user should follow a few steps in order to get a smooth transition. One has to go to the Chrome channel and to the Chrome Release Channels page that is set on the Chromium project site. The Chromium is a project with an open source on which OS and Chrome browser are based on. The user should back up one’s profile through a copy of the Default directory. This is done in case Chrome does not recognize and accept the user’s profile on its own.

In general, the profile location varies by the operating system with the various iterations being listed on the website of Chromium. On Windows 7 the location of the beta, stable and dev channels go like that:
\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default
On Windows Explorer, the user should be able to see the hidden files, which can be done through Tools – Folder Options – View the Hidden Files. This is important as when one is backing up the Chrome data, one should copy the hidden files as well. When the data is backed up, the user should click on the channel that one wants to use and the click on the Download button in order to start the setup program. The channel page will come with the four channels where they will be separated by version and platform.

The Beta and the other Chrome versions should be downloaded from the official website. The user will be better off if one uninstalls the current Chrome version and download the new channel through a different browser. In case the user has Chromebook, then the switching of channels will be easier and could be done in the following path – Settings – Help – More Info – Change Channel and then select the channel that one wants to use. The switching of channels is even simpler on Chrome OS.

How to switch back to the stable channel

Some users decide to check the different channels like Dev and Beta channels, but then they want to go back to the Stable channel. The easiest and fastest way to do this is to delete their profile data. This is necessary as going back to the Stable channel means using an earlier version of Chrome with no automatic updates until the Stable channel officially accepts them. Before uninstalling Chrome however, the user has to be signed into Chrome through one’s Google account. This will save the apps, the bookmarks, the extension data that will be present when the user downloads one’s browser again.

Once this is done the user can head back to the Chromium site and download the Stable channel. This is the way in which the user can try the new things on the different channels, and then go back to the tested and official version.

Stable and experimental browser

The user further has another option and this is to have a stable browser with the option to experiment on the latest features. The least stable channel is Chrome Canary and it is also the only channel that can exist in harmony with the Stable channel. The user should run the Stable version of Chrome and then should download the Canary version. The user will easily identify the Canary features as they come in bright gold.

By doing so the user can get the best of both, using the Stable and the Canary new features on the desktop. It is a good way in which to see what Google is working on. The careful testing of new software could be fun and is not necessarily difficult and the user be one of the first people to experience the newest features that are to be established on the Chrome browser.

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Berta Bilbao

Berta is a dedicated malware researcher, dreaming for a more secure cyber space. Her fascination with IT security began a few years ago when a malware locked her out of her own computer.

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