Released over a year ago for the PC, Google’s wonderful Chrome browser has been purgatorial on the Mac for far too long, but now that’s all over: Google has finally released Chrome in beta form for OS X.
Mac users have a duty to download the beta and help Google finish it — it’s a great piece of work.
It’s a feature light release compared to the PC and Linux versions. For one, the Mac version is missing its Bookmark Manager and Bookmark Syncing; it also omits the App Mode, which allows Chrome to run web apps in their own basic browser window. Google’s Gears is also off the table for Mac users, but Gears won’t work under Snow Leopard anyway, so this isn’t a big deal: anyway, Google has announced that they will cease developing Gears because HTML5 is now suitable for the same purposes. Finally comes probably the biggest omission: the Chrome Beta for Mac totally omits Firefox-like extension support.
All together, it feels like something of a phoned-in affair, and it’s hard not to feel a bit bitter that Google delivered so little of the full Chrome user after a year of keeping Mac users waiting.
That all said, I’ve been using Chrome’s developer nightly builds for months, and its combination of extreme simplicity, the effortless amalgamation of the address bar and search engine support, and its sandboxed security mode that prevents single tabs from crashing the entire browser have quickly made Chrome my favorite browser for Mac. Despite my enthusiasm for Chrome, though, I’ll be keeping Firefox as my working browser until Chrome finally builds extensions into their Mac version… and, more importantly, some plucky developer comes up with a Chrome alternative to Tab Mix Plus.