Less than two weeks after promising to accelerate the release schedule of its stable builds for it Chrome Web browser, Google released a new version called Google Chrome Canary Build.
For early adopting developers working on Chrome for Windows only, Chrome Canary can best be described as a tweener. That is, it’s a build that sits somewhere between being too unstable and being a developer build.
The build comes as Chrome is struggling to compete with browser incumbents Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari. Chrome slipped a tad in market share, from 7.24 percent in June to 7.16 percent through July, according to Net Applications.
Chrome Product Manager Henry Bridge in a blog post Aug. 2 described Canary Build as sort of a stop-gap to keep Chrome from losing momentum.
Bridge noted that the Chrome team already releases a developer build almost weekly. However, Chrome development misses a beat when it migrates a developer channel release to the beta channel. Chrome Canary is designed to ensure work on Chrome continues apace.
The Chrome team faced a dilemma, Bridge said. The group mulled updating the developer channel more often, but this would mean it wouldn’t be able to conduct its usual manual testing on the builds.
That would mean an unstable developer build that is “too unstable even for early adopters and developers.”
“We plan to update the Canary Build more frequently than the Dev channel, with riskier changes, and usually without a human being ever verifying that it works, so the Canary Build is only for users who want to help test Google Chrome and are comfortable using a highly unstable browser that will often break entirely,” Bridge explained.
Developers will be able to install the Chrome Canary Build in addition to the developer, beta and stable channel versions of Chrome. In addition to being Windows-only, Canary may not be set as the default browser on any machine.
Those brave enough to try it can “star” the issues default browser, Mac and Linux support.
Chrome Canary marks the latest step in the Chrome team’s “launch early and often” strategy and comes 10 days after Chrome vowed to introduce stable Chrome releases to users every six weeks, or twice as fast as the current pace.
Meanwhile, Chrome 6 is coming as Google prepares its Chrome OS for Web apps for launch this holiday season on netbooks from Dell, and possibly Acer and Lenovo.