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Chrome for Mac Beta Available Now

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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…

29 Responses to “Chrome for Mac Beta Available Now”

  1. As much as I hate Safari for being a ram hog, I have to admit that Safari is a feather in comparison with this Chrome.
    At the beginning I saw less consumption of real memory in Chrome in comparison with Safari, but then I discovered that Chrome launches a process for every tab! When you sum these (Chrome helpers) to its main process is when the disappointment shows up.
    Screenshots of Activity Monitor

  2. chrome rocks….been using it for a while. downloading the beta now. it’s fast, real fast. the developer tools are a little screwed but will be fixed…….once developers start coding extensions it will take off. i reckon #2 market share in 2 years…..but…………..i already know that i will not be able to import the bookmarks from my old chrome…and that sucks.

  3. I have been using Chrome for a day now and it seems pretty quick. However, I could not find a status bar at the bottom of the browser, as well as no way to manager my favourites. I’m sure this will come as they still in Beta. See my review of Chrome on my blog.

  4. I love google, and my Macbook, and my android phone, and my ability to sync all my information together for free through google rather than having to pay for mobile me. I guess the only strike against google products is they aren’t made for the trendy hipster? Let the hating begin :p

  5. I m working with Google Chrome on Mac OS 10.5.7. Compared to all other browsers available on Mac OS, Google Chrome is the fastest one. Starting the browser is almost instant, and surfing the web is faster too. This is especially true for sites with a lot of JavaScript.The nice feature of Google Chrome is its automatic update.If you haven’t used it yet,just check it out.Its great.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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”?

  9. 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.