Google this week announced that the latest stable version of its web browser, Chrome 37, is now available in a 64-bit version on Windows. The 64-bit version of the browser offers better performance, stability and security, Google says, but is for now an opt-in release.

Google had previously announced the availability of pre-release Chrome 64-bit versions back in June, when it made the 64-bit version available to Chrome's Canary and Dev channels (as opposed to the Beta and Stable channels). As of today, the stable version of Chrome is available in 64-bit form if you want it, and if you're running Windows 7 or 8.x.

To get Chrome in 64-bit form, you have to squint a bit when you visit the Chrome download page. Under the obvious "Download Chrome" button, you will see a less obvious "Windows 64-bit" link. Click that and then click the "Download Chrome" button.

Once it's installed, you can verify you have the 64-bit version by visiting the Chrome About page (Menu button, About Google Chrome).

OK, so why would you do this?

As noted with that June preview, Chrome 64-bit offers the following improvements over the 32-bit version of the browser, according to Google:

Speed. 64-bit Chrome is 25 percent faster than today's Chrome, Google says, thanks to new processor and compiler optimizations, a more modern instruction set, and the like.

Security. Security is improved on 64-bit platforms as well, Google notes, thanks to better defenses against exploitation techniques.

Stability. Google says that 64-bit Chrome is much more stable than today's 32-bit version, with crash rates the renderer process almost half that of 32-bit Chrome.

From what I can see, it works with all of my extensions, though Google notes that the 64-bit version is incompatible with 32-bit NPAPI plugins. These types of plugins are obsolete and being phased out, so this is not a huge problem, but it's something to know about.