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Google launches beta Chrome for Mac

updated 11:40 am EST, Tue December 8, 2009

Mac software long in development

Google has finally released the Mac beta of Chrome, which follows long after the original Windows beta, released in September 2008. As with Safari, Chrome runs on a WebKit engine claimed to quickly and accurately render pages. The Google software differs in design, pushing tabs to the top of the browser, while using an "Omnibox" that combines search and URL fields into a single bar.

Chrome also handles tabs discreetly, in some cases isolating crashes and freezes so they do not affect the browser as a whole. The software lastly copies Opera's favorites display when opening a new tab, showing a selection of a person's most commonly visited websites. Chrome is a free 18.5MB download, and runs on Intel Macs with Mac OS X 10.5 or later.

by MacNN Staff



  1. TomSawyer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    unless you have been dying to have your tabs all the way at the top or are extremely annoyed that the search and URL boxes are separate on your Mac browser (Firefox, Safari, or Opera) is there any COMPELLING reason to switch to Chrome?

  1. ibugv4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Some people like choices

    I happen to like how much faster it is, and I hope they implement the full screen browsing option.

    So far only Opera can do full screen on OS X that I am aware of.

    Full screen browsing is one of those things that some of us actually make use of.

  1. joecab

    Joined: Dec 1969


    no thanks

    Plenty of other web browsers give Mac users a higher priority. To wait this long for something this incomplete is a sign of how long we'll have to wait for less-than-full-parity updates.

    Not for me, Google.

  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Google = Adobe = Intuit

    Apple is an afterthought to these companies. As another poster said, this is a sign that Google Chrome for Mac will not have feature parity anytime soon, like Adobe's suites and Intuit's Quicken and Quickbooks. But that's okay. Safari works just fine and does all the things that are really needed for serious browsing.

  1. Geobunny

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sorry but

    As this only runs on Intel machines it's of no use to I'll just pick at the mistakes in the article instead! ;)
    You used the wrong discrete/discreet in the second paragraph.
    "...handles tabs discreetly, in some cases isolating crashes and freezes..."

    An easy way to remember where to place the 't' is to think about what you're writing; if you mean "separately" then the T separates the Es.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Late to the party

    This is yet another example of the too-late-too-little syndrome for Mac users. I'm hard pressed to support companies who toss crumbs to the Mac community and expect us to rejoice. If I didn't need Adobe Creative Suite for my business...

    As far as browsers are concerned, Safari works great for me. If I need an alternative, then there's FireFox or OmniWeb. Flock is nice to use, too.

    Besides, tabs at the top are extremely poor from a usability standpoint. I'm all for trying different interface approaches, but not at the expense of every day function. Apple tried those in the Safari 4 beta. They were a nightmare to use and didn't make the final release.

  1. MacSOS

    Joined: Dec 1969


    just another webkit browser?

    If the best Google can come up with just another webkit browser/Safari wannabe, then I seriously doubt Mac users will switch to Google Chrome. It needs to have features that clearly differentiate it from Safari.

    Personally, I use Firefox because I find it to be the most compatible with the most sites. I also find the plethora of Firefox Add-Ons to be extremely useful.

    IMO, Chrome should have a 3rd party extension system, and possibly even support Firefox add-ons. That would give Mac users the best of Safari and Firefox in one package. We'll have to wait and see what the full feature set is in the final release.

    Russ Alman

  1. ktopera

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Another non-IE option...

    Congrats to the Google Mac team getting Chrome out, having another browser to choose is always cool (though half-copying Opera's Speed Dial and full-text Quick Find search/addr bar is funny -- while the Opera v10.2 alpha build has external App Mode now also).

    Unlike others, I think it was clearly intentional they delayed Chrome for Mac...browsers like Opera & Safari (and FF) are Acid3-compliant and do not cause brain cancer when trying to code insanely-complex web sites...while on Windows, cross-browser testing is easy...except you need to make your code work for IE.

    Marginalizing IE is the goal.

    Getting IE usage down will save the world so much development man-centuries, it's not even funny. (Plus, the unspoken truth that if somehow by IE11, it went back up to 99% market share, do you think Microsoft will keep innovating browsers or disband the IE team again? Puh-lease.)

  1. smezjj

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Nothing different here than the developer version I have been using for the last 6 months. Still a good browser though.

  1. shawnde

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They have a bug in YouTube !! :-)

    Yeah, they've got a bug in YouTube (their own web application ... you'd think they would test that at least) ....

    When you open multiple YouTube videos in multiple tabs, they ALL start playing ... this is NOT the desired behaviour ... in Safari, only the front most will play. Try it and you'll see. This maybe a function of the fact that each Tab runs in a separate thread, but the implementation is messed up.

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