If you use Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 and are a Google
fanatic, you’re going to love the latest version of Chrome. It’s a standard
browser for the desktop; it’s a browser app for the Start Screen; it’s the
Chrome OS; it’s an oddity and much more, all in a neat little
package. You really have to see it to believe it. I’ll describe how to download, install, and use Google Chrome 32 in
Windows 8.1.

Get Chrome 32

You don’t have to go to the Windows Store to get the new Chrome. To get started, launch your current browser and go to the Google Chrome page. On the
Chrome site, click the Download Chrome button (Figure A).

Figure A



Click the Download Chrome button.

When you see the Terms of Service page (Figure B), the first thing you should do is select the Set
Google Chrome As My Default Browser check box. Chrome must be set as the
default browser in order to perform its dual act as a desktop browser and a
modern app browser. (Don’t fret, though: If you later decide to return your current
browser to its prominent position, you can do so quite easily.) If you want to
send statistics and such to Google, you would select the second check box on that screen. To continue, click the
Accept And Install button.

Figure B



Make Chrome your default browser.

I downloaded Chrome 32 from Internet Explorer, so during
the Google Installer portion of the download operation, I encountered an
Application Run – Security Warning, which basically informed me that Google
wasn’t to be trusted. I
clicked Run anyway, and the download proceeded as normal (Figure C).
As if the first warning wasn’t enough, I had to work through a User
Account Control (UAC) dialog box.

Figure C



You have to acknowledge that you accept the consequences of
downloading the Google Installer.

Once you get through the UAC, Chrome will begin to download without any interference (Figure D).

Figure D



The actual Chrome download proceeds without any interference.

Install Chrome 32

As soon as the download is complete, you’ll see a Toast
notification that you have a new app that can open webpages (Figure E). While you do have a modern app that can open webpages, you
won’t find a Google tile on the Start Screen; instead, you’ll find a Chrome
icon embedded in the Taskbar right next to Internet Explorer and File Explorer (Figure F). You’ll also find a Chrome shortcut on your desktop. 

Figure E



A Toast notifies you when the installation is complete.

Figure F



You’ll find a Chrome icon embedded in the Taskbar.

When you click the Chrome icon, you’ll see a Welcome dialog box
that prompts you to click Next to choose your default browser. After clicking Next, you’ll see a little pop-up that shows your choices (Figure G). I thought this was a bit weird since I already specified
that I wanted Chrome to be my default browser, but I clicked the Chrome icon

Figure G



You need to specify again that you want Chrome to be your
default browser.

Use Chrome 32

Chrome will launch in standard desktop mode and
prompt you to enter your Gmail credentials (Figure H), so that
everything associated with your Google account can be accessible from
Chrome. After that, you can use Chrome in desktop mode to browse the web just
like you always have.

Figure H



After you sign in, everything associated with your Google
account can be made accessible from Chrome.

To move Chrome into windows app mode, click the Menu button
and select Relaunch Chrome In Windows 8 Mode (Figure I).

Figure I



Select Relaunch Chrome In Windows 8 Mode to move
out of desktop mode.

Chrome will transform itself into a Windows 8 app like
you’ve never seen; in fact, it becomes more of a Chrome OS-like
environment than just a simple app. This environment consists of a number of
unique components and features that take it way beyond any Windows 8 app that
you’ve seen, and it does so without adhering to any of the
standardized Windows 8 app guidelines. Chrome
offers unique features such as its own Start menu-like control complete with a
Taskbar-like control called the Shelf, and it even supports multiple windows with
Snap-like controls. 

You’ll see the Chrome browser appear in the center of the
full screen environment (Figure J), but it’s not stuck there — you can click the Title bar and drag a window anywhere on the screen that
you want. Key features in this Chrome OS/Windows 8 app amalgamation are
identified with number icons in the figure and described below.

Figure J



This is more of a Chrome OS-like environment than just a
simple app.
  1. Hover over the button at the top right and
    you’ll see a menu that allows you snap the window to the right or the left,
    complete with shadowed animations, minimize the window, as well as maximize the
  2. Click the button at the bottom left and you’ll
    see all the Google apps that you have installed. You can even search the Google
    app store from this menu.
  3. Right-click any app icon and you’ll see a
    menu that allows you to configure how the app is to open. You can even pin
    icons to the Shelf.
  4. On the Shelf you’ll find the icons of the pinned
    and running apps. The icons of minimized apps have a silver shadow under them.
  5. While the Shelf appears on the bottom edge of
    the environment, right clicking on the Shelf displays a menu that allows you to
    reposition the Shelf to any of the other edges.
  6. There’s even a clock that appears in the lower right corner. Hover over it and you’ll see the date.

While you can open any of the Google apps as tabs in the
Chrome browser as you would in the desktop, in this environment, you can open
any Google app in a separate window that you can move anywhere in the
environment that you want (Figure K).

Figure K



You can open Google apps in separate windows that you can
move anywhere.

While the inside of the Chrome environment functions
independently from Windows 8, the environment itself has the same functionality
as other apps. For example, you use the same drag down operation to close it.
You can also snap the entire Chrome environment to one side of the screen and
access other Windows 8 apps (Figure L).

Figure L



The entire Chrome environment acts like a regular Windows 8

Stop Chrome 32

When you close the Chrome environment, anytime you launch it
subsequently, it will instantly appear as a Windows 8 app. If you want it to go
back to being just a desktop browser, click the Menu button in Chrome and select Relaunch Chrome On The Desktop. You can also return Chrome to a desktop
browser by launching Internet Explorer, which will immediately prompt you to
make it the default browser (Figure M). If you click the Set Default
Browser button, Chrome will immediately return to a desktop browser, and Internet
Explorer will take over as the default browser for both the desktop and the
modern UI.

Figure M



Internet Explorer will immediately want to take back control
of browser duty.

What’s your take?

Have you used the new Chrome in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1? If
so, has been your experience? As always, if you have comments or information to
share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic
Community Forums and let us hear from you.