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Summary:

As of this morning, you can download the beta version of Google’s Chrome for the Mac browser. It’s missing some things found in its Windows counterpart, but what is there is very impressive.

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The developer builds of late have been pretty stable, but now you can download the official Google Chrome for Mac Beta. Released today, the Beta should offer Mac users a more stable browsing experience, one that hopefully is more representative of what the full release will eventually look like. It’s been a long time coming for us Mac users, but was the wait worth it?

I’m going to try my best to use Chrome as my default browser for a decent length of time, in order to give it a fair shake. But I am a little worried about potential feature scarcity. As has been reported before, the Chrome beta is missing some things that its Windows counterpart offers. Below is a brief list of what’s been omitted, and why it worries me that some of these things aren’t there with this new beta.

  • App Mode: One of Chrome’s greatest strengths is its ability to create Fluid-like single site browser instances that work more like apps than websites. It’s great for Gmail, Google Docs, and any other web app that has its own dashboard, menus, etc. The option is there, it’s just grayed out for now.
  • Gears: I know Gears is dead in general, as per a recent announcement, but for now the existing implementation is much appreciated. I’d like to hold on to it as long as possible, pending HTML 5′s gradual rollout, but the Chrome Beta isn’t onboard.
  • Multi-touch Gestures: Both the trackpad and the Magic Mouse’s multi-touch gestures won’t work in this beta of Chrome. That’s a big omission when you’ve become as dependent on multi-touch as I have, especially in terms of mobile computing.
  • 64-bit Support: Chrome is 32-bit only, despite Snow Leopard’s focus on 64-bit performance. It’s not a major strike against it, since the browser is still blazingly fast in my experience, but it could become an issue down the road if Google doesn’t give its browser a bump up.

There are other things I’ve left off my list, like full-screen browsing, for the simple fact that I don’t use them that often and they probably won’t affect my experience. And despite my complaints about what isn’t in this beta, what is there is very impressive indeed. The speed with which Chrome renders pages never ceases to impress, no matter how many times I take the browser out for a spin on either Windows or Mac machines.

Tabs also still do run as isolated processes, which is the major advantage Chrome brought to the table in the first place. Now when I have 57 tabs open across five windows on three screens, a badly coded Flash ad on one of them won’t force me to start fresh. Wait, that might not be a good thing…

  1. [...] theAppleBlog: Chrome for Mac Beta Available Now by Darrell Etherington [...]

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  2. Basically this beta is a “proof of concept” stage app. There’s actually very little in the browser at all at this point, other than the ability to view Web pages.

    No significant extension support
    No bookmark management to speak of
    No 64-bit
    No full screen
    No theme support
    No gestures/multi-touch
    No offline support (Gears, etc.)
    No customization of the toolbar
    It crashes in some specific cases using Gmail & Google Docs (so much for tabs being their own process)

    Chrome is fast, no doubt about it. And I like the minimalist interface. But at this point, there’s very little here to really get a feel for beyond simply browsing. Then again, everything Google offers is feature-starved. Gmail, Docs, etc… they all lack even the most basic of features in their respective field.

    Chrome appears to be a bare-bones browser effort. And if speed is their sole aim, then they have certainly succeeded. But I suspect that many users are going to want more. A LOT more.

    Obviously this is a beta and they will be adding some of these features in eventually. But even if they fix bookmarks, offline use, make it 64-bit, etc., it isn’t significantly faster than Safari now – so I don’t see a huge flock of people switching to it.

    Just my 2-cents.

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  3. [...] much like those for Firefox, but extensions are also specific to Chrome for Windows as of now. The Apple Blog points out a few other missing features: 64-bit support, App Mode, Gears and multi-touch support. The first two items aren’t [...]

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  4. Isn’t two-finger scrolling a “multi-touch gesture”? I’m having no problem scrolling with two figures in Chrome for Mac. Sure, Safari lets you pinch zoom, but I’ve never really used it. Is that the “big omission”?

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    1. In fact, Chrome also supports the three-figure forward and back gesture. I just tested it.

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  5. [...] much like those for Firefox, but extensions are also specific to Chrome for Windows as of now. The Apple Blog points out a few other missing features: 64-bit support, App Mode, Gears and multi-touch support. The first two items aren’t [...]

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  6. Must be new to the beta version because the dev versions did not. I tried using chrome and it’s just useless for me. the only reason i wanted to use it was for tabs on the top, and i compared chromes menubar to safaris and they were exactly the same. So what’s the point of tabs on top if it doesnt save you any screen real estate. bleh.

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  7. The browser supports three-finger forward and back but not three-finger up and down.

    Furthermore it’s superfast and designs or themes work, but you have to visit a site where you can click to set the design you like.

    I’m looking forward for more.

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  8. [...] As noted on TheAppleBlog today, Google has delivered the beta version of its Chrome for Mac browser. It’s missing some features found in its Windows counterpart, but is mostly impressive. Google also has also delivered the beta version of Chrome for Linux, and its much-awaited Extensions Gallery for Chrome is also available today. Find out more here. [...]

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  9. How about no Java?

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    1. I think this is a good thing. I would love to help wipe JAVA from the face along by not supporting it. Modern technologoy or GTFO

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  10. I am sticking to Safari as Chrome has no syncing of bookmarks through MobileMe.

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