Have you been using Google’s open source Chrome browser? If you’re like me, you use it some of the time, and take notice of how speedy it often is, but favor Firefox for the many useful extensions that it supports. Because of the might of the company behind it, because of some of the murkiness surrounding its future, and for other reasons, Chrome is one of the most interesting software stories of the year.
Whether you use Chrome all of the time, some of the time, or are considering it, here are some significant updates about it.
Out of beta, and an update. Chrome has just come out of beta testing–one of the fastest products from Google to exit beta status. Just this week, Google released an update to the browser that fixes more than 30 bugs. The update is a developer build and hasn’t been pushed to all users. If you want all updates to Chrome as soon as they’re ready, follow the Channel Chooser instructions here.
Privacy, please. Partly because of the sheer amount of information about people it collects, Google often gets criticized by privacy advocates. There are several forks of and tools for Chrome appearing that can raise your level of privacy protection. Iron is a fork of Chrome’s Chromium core that introduces several privacy protection features. Unchrome is a tool for removing the unique I.D. from your Chrome installation, if you’re worried about being watched by Google.
RSS plans. Many Chrome users criticize the browser in its current state, because there is no automatic discovery of web pages that offer RSS and other subscription services. This past week, Google laid out plans for how it will fix this.
Embrace and extend. As we wrote about before, extensions are coming for Chrome. Many extensions are likely to be forks of existing Firefox extensions. This should substantially level the playing field between Chrome and Firefox. Google has also confirmed that Mac and Linux versions of Chrome will arrive in the first half of next year.
If it works for Microsoft… In a move that comes right out of Microsoft’s playbook, Google officials have confirmed (more than once) that they intend to pursue deals with hardware OEMs to have Chrome bundled on new computers as the default browser. This could substantially increase Chrome’s market share, which currently is about one percent of the browser market, according to Net Applications.
For many more tips and resources on Chrome, check here.