Don’t Worry Mac Users, You’ll Get Your Chrome… Mid-Year

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I’m still annoyed and perplexed that Google would release Chrome for Windows so far ahead of other platforms. At least now they’re finally putting some kind of timeline on when we might see it come to OS X, although the news is hardly comforting, if you’re as impatient as I am.

The latest from Google has stable releases of Chrome for Mac and Linux out by mid 2009, according to CNET. Both releases are said to be developing in parallel, which is according to Google’s release schedule. Maybe the rising popularity of netbooks with Linux-based operating systems is the cause of this egalitarian approach?

As it stands, both the Linux and Apple versions have very little to show for themselves, besides a very rudimentary “test shell” that can render webpages, but that don’t go beyond that. According to Chrome Product Manager Brian Rakowski, that’s according to plan, since current development is focused on making sure the core function of the web browser is stable, before moving on to adding more user experience features.

According to an informal survey conducted by CNET, the availability (or lack thereof) of a Mac version of Chrome is the second biggest barrier to adoption for respondents, coming in behind speed improvements. Currently, the only way for Mac users to run a working version of Chrome is through virtualization software, and that tends to offset the speed advantages the blazingly fast browser brings to the table.

Google is simultaneously working on bringing extensions to Chrome, so hopefully once it does drop for OS X, you’ll also be able to trick it out. If you’re a glutton for punishment, you can check out the progress of the Mac build, or download the test shell and experience all the glory of extremely limited functionality.

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