updated 10:05 pm EDT, Mon May 2, 2011
'Pre-dev' build offers little new features
Google's Chrome Canary, a "pre-developer" version of the Chrome browser intended to be tested by "the bravest" of users -- people who would be comfortable with bugs and instability -- now has a Mac version available, according to the company's Chromium blog. The release follows the initial version of Canary for Windows last year, which the company says helped further development and gather feedback on Chromium and Chrome. The Mac version, like the Windows version, is a frequently-updated and completely untested build of what is expected to eventually become Chrome v13.
The current beta version of Chrome just hit v11, while the version for developers is marked as v12. The main "selling point" of Canary is that it can be run alongside (but separate of) an existing install of either the stable or beta builds of Chrome, or even off a disk image or USB flash drive, allowing users to retain the "safe" stable version for their main browser use while checking out sites and plug-ins with Canary for signs of possible problems. The Canary version of the browser is distinguished by its yellow icon.
Google warns users flatly that Canary represents an untested build and is prone to instability, though it does offer users integrated address bar searching (users can pick from Google, Yahoo or Bing search engines). Our own testing has found that bookmark importing from Safari and overall performance are smooth, but that most third-party plug-ins do not work. Otherwise, a quick tour of various web sites performed as one would expect from a Chromium browser.