After a long wait, Google releases stable beta versions of Chrome for Mac, Chrome for Linux and Chrome extensions. The move comes more than a year after Google launched its Chrome Web browser for Windows. Google says Chrome for Mac is speedy and includes animations and effects to create an enjoyable browsing experience on the Mac OS X operating system. So, what took so long? Find out here. Regardless, stable Mac and Linux builds for Chrome could help it compete with Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple Safari.
Google set out to make Dec. 8 a glorious day in the history of its Google
Chrome Web browser by releasing stable beta versions of Chrome
for Mac, Chrome for Linux
and Chrome extensions.
Google launched Chrome for Windows
on Sept. 2, 2008, and since then users
who dislike or despise Microsoft Windows have clamored for versions of Chrome for Mac and Linux.
Even Google co-founder
Sergey Brin lamented the absence of Chrome
Google Chrome Product Manager Brian Rakowski Dec. 8 in a Google Blog post said Chrome for Mac
is speedy and includes
animations and effects "to create a snappy and satisfying browsing
experience" for the Mac OS X operating system. So, what took so long?
Google Chrome Engineer Mike Pinkerton in this video said
he and his team had to
build and rebuild Chrome for Mac OS X from the bottom up, from the WebKit-based
browser infrastructure all the way up the stack to the user interface.
For example, the browser includes the Mac OS X spell-checking service, a
fine OS feature by many accounts, and Keychain, which lets users store
passwords even if they were created in other Web browsers.
Chrome for Mac also includes crash protection, so if a user has 10 different
browser tabs open and one crashes, the other nine tabs will be preserved. This
was one of the features that made Chrome for Windows so popular. Users can also
hold and drag thumbnails of favorite Websites, just as they can with Chrome for
Meanwhile, Rakowski said most Google engineers use Linux machines, making it
imperative to create a Google Chrome for Linux that integrated well with native
GTK (GIMP Tool Kit) themes, and updates that
are managed by the standard system package manager, among other features.
Finally, Google has brought extensions,
which let users customize Chrome,
to Google Chrome for
Windows and Chrome for Linux. PC and Linux users can access more than 300
extensions in the gallery here.
One Chrome extension is the Google Reader Notifier
from the Reader team. This application displays the number of unread items
in a user's Reader account
in Google Chrome's tool bar. When clicked, the tool bar icon displays a popup preview
of the latest items in the account.
"They are as easy to create as Web pages, easy to install and each
extension runs in its own process to avoid crashing or significantly slowing
down the browser," Rakowski said.
That remains to be seen. You can bet developers will be playing with these
extensions and letting Google know how they work. But the big news here is the
new browser iterations, which when fully cooked and healthy have the potential
to be solid winners for Google.
Chrome has gained 3.93 percent of the browser market since its launch,
according to NetApplications.
Having stable Mac and Linux builds for
Chrome could boost its market share at the expense of Microsoft Internet
Explorer and Apple Safari.
The move also takes on greater significance as Google readies Chrome Operating System
for placement on operating systems. Google
needs to have many browser options to offer users who buy Chrome OS netbooks
when they arrive, purportedly in winter 2010.