What do you want from Google for the holidays? If you’re a fan of Google’s Chrome projects to dethrone Microsoft Internet Explorer and Windows, you may see a couple of big wishes fulfilled: Chrome for Mac and an early build of Chrome Operating System.
First, it seems that the infuriatingly long-awaited Chrome for Mac build is only weeks away from launching.
“The earlier you switch, the more time you will have to polish your experience for our Beta launch in early December. We realize this means dropping Mac support for a couple of weeks, but we already have people working on that. If you prioritize the Windows and Linux versions, we’ll bring you cross-platform parity as soon as we can!“
What does that mean? I’ve already noted that there was no Chrome for Mac, right? Well, there is, but it’s an unstable developer build. Baum alluded to a “stable” beta build for the general public, which is what has eluded us thus far.
For context on how frustrating this has been for Mac users who want to try Chrome on Mac OS X, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said at the Web 2.0 Summit that he was disappointed with how long the version has taken.
“I would have been much happier if we had had a beta out now, and I’d have been happier if we launched them simultaneously, but certainly this delay is something that many of us suffer through.“
Of course, Google has said for months to expect a stable Chrome for Mac build by the end of the year, so the news in itself isn’t a surprise. But it is certainly a welcome reassurance — even for Brin — especially considering Chrome for Windows has been available since September 2008.
Next, TechCrunch reported Chrome OS — the lightweight, super-fast platform on which Chrome will fuel Web applications — will become available for download within a week. Michael Arrington noted:
“Driver support will likely be a weak point. We’ve heard at various times that Google has a legion of engineers working on the not so glamorous task of building hardware drivers. And we’ve also heard conflicting rumors that Google is mostly relying on hardware manufacturers to create those drivers.“
Again, this is pretty much a reassurance of something we already know. During the third-quarter earnings conference call Oct. 15, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Google hopes to get a version of Chrome OS out to developers to test later in 2009.
Schmidt also whetted developers’ appetites by claiming that it is superior to incumbent operating systems, including Microsoft Windows and other Linux distributions, in “speed and efficiency.”
Chrome OS is expected to appear on netbooks in the first half of 2010.
Is there some redundancy to this story? Sure, but I don’t think Chrome fans are complaining, particularly if it’s true, and let’s face it: TechCrunch’s track record of late has been superb. See the Google-Gizmo5 scoop.