Google ships beta of Chrome for Mac

More than a year after browser's debut, Mac version hits preview status

As anticipated, Google today launched the beta of the Mac version of its Chrome browser.

Last month, Google said it would deliver a Mac beta of Chrome in early December.

The browser, which has been in development for more than a year, was joined today by a beta of a Linux edition , as well as betas of browser extensions for Windows and Linux. The Mac edition does not yet support extensions, as Google dubs the add-ons it and third-party developers have created for the open-source browser.

Chrome for the Mac takes the same approach as the one used by the Windows edition, which debuted in September 2008, and until now, was the only version available as a non-developer build. "We returned to the core principles of the Chromium project and focused on delivering rock-solid depth in a few critical areas for the browser, rather than a breadth of features that are rough around the edges," said software engineers John Grabowski and Mike Pinkerton in a post to Google's Mac-specific blog .

Grabowski and Pinkerton also spelled out what didn't make it into the beta, including extensions, bookmark synchronization, and either a bookmark or cookie manager. The omissions had been detailed earlier by Google in a list of bugs and features that had been pushed to a post-beta build. Pinkerton, in fact, had tweeted about the Mac edition's lack of support for extensions two weeks ago.

In lieu of those features, said Grabowski and Pinkerton, "We focused on features such as sandboxing our renderer process to help provide a safer Web experience for our users."

Chrome accounts for approximately 4% of all browsers used worldwide, according to the most recent data from Web metrics company Net Applications. In comparison, Microsoft 's Internet Explorer has a 64% share, while Mozilla's Firefox -- like Chrome, an open-source browser -- owns a 25% share.

"In the short term, I can't see that it will be significant," said Sheri McLeish, a Forrester Research analyst who covers browsers, talking about the beta release of Mac and Linux editions. "But Chrome is critical to Google's long-term strategy, and a sign that they're continuing to invest in technology that's widely accessible, like a browser."

Previously, Google had set aggressive market share goals for Chrome of a 5% share by September 2010 and a 10% goal for 2011. "That's achievable," said McLeish, "But Google needs to get even more visibility for Chrome. The barrier they face is the inability of people to change habits -- Chrome's market share now is insignificant compared to Internet Explorer, or even Firefox -- so they need to take even more drastic steps."

McLeish compared Google's current place in browsers to Apple 's position when it launched its game-changing iPhone. "So far, Google hasn't been able to seize on the kind of fervor Apple's gained with the iPhone," she said. "But that's not to say that they can't, as long as they continue to invest outside their core search business."

Rival Mozilla welcomed Chrome for the Mac. "As always, it's great to see more choices available for people who want to make informed decisions about the software they use to browse the Web," said Mike Beltzner, the director of Firefox.

The beta of Chrome for the Mac can be downloaded from Google's Web site. It requires Mac OS X 10.5, aka Leopard, or later, and runs only on Intel-based Macs.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GooglebrowserGoogle Chrome for Mac

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?