September 01, 2010, 11:46 AM — Google recently released a version of its Chrome Web browser code named the Canary Build. It uses an all-yellow variant of the regular Chrome icon, but there may be confusion as to what actually distinguishes it from the other, official releases of Google's browser.
Here is an explanation of what makes the Canary Build different from the Stable, Beta and Dev versions of Chrome, and how it is also connected to them.
1. Stable every six weeks
Google Chrome "Stable" is the official release, and this is the version that Chrome's development team recommends most users install and use. "Stable" is supposed to be that -- reliable and bug-free, as far as Chrome's developers have been able to determine through thorough testing. The developers stated in July that they are now aiming to release a new Stable of the Chrome Web browser about every six weeks.
2. Beta every few days
The "Beta" version of Chrome includes new features, updates, enhancements and fixes to the browser's code that have not yet appeared in the Stable release. They are being tested in the Beta, and once most bugs in the code are squashed, the latest Beta is then released as the next Stable.
Betas are recommended for early adopters who crave tinkering with the latest Web browser features, and don't mind the risk that their browser could crash.
To the credit of Chrome's developers, most of the recent Betas of Chrome have been remarkably stable and speedy in performance. The team has been releasing a new Beta every couple of days.
3. Dev "every night"
The "Dev" (for "Developer") version is updated the most frequently -- oftentimes, every day. It's also called the "Nightly," a reference to code that's uploaded "every night" to servers for distribution to others.
Because it has not been released to the public long enough to undergo rigorous testing by Chrome's developers and end users, a Dev release is more likely to contain bugs and crash. So you should only use a Dev build of Chrome if you like skirting on the edge of code stability while surfing the Web.
But maybe you also want to take part in helping with the development of Chrome. You can do this by allowing the Dev version to report your crashes to Google. (The Beta and Stable versions also let you help out in this way.)