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6/4/2009
07:33 PM
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Google Chrome For Mac, Linux Released To Developers

However, the company is discouraging average users from downloading the browser-in-progress unless they really know what they're doing.

Google Chrome
(click image for larger view)
Google Chrome

Google's Chrome Web browser is being released this weekend for Mac and Linux, but the company admittedly doesn't want most people to use it.

That's because Google plans to release developer versions of its browser software.

Google plans to post a notification about the developer release on the Chromium blog Thursday evening and to encourage users to avoid downloading the browser-in-progress unless they really know what they're doing. Chromium is the open source projected upon which Google Chrome is based.

On Tuesday, Scott Knaster, a software engineer on the Google's Mac team, said in a blog post that "Google Chrome for the Mac is coming along fine" and encouraged the technically inclined to read a post by another Google engineer about how Chrome developers working on Mac and Linux versions were implementing sandboxing, a feature that enhances browser security. Though this post details the difficulties of sandboxing, its main function appears to be justifying the ongoing absence of Chrome for Mac and Linux.

At the Google IO developer conference last week, company co-founder Sergey Brin told TechCrunch IT editor Steve Gillmor that he asks about Chrome for the Mac every other day. This might explain the eagerness of Google engineers to post updates before meaningful milestones are reached.

Google maintains three distinct channels for Chrome: developer, beta, and stable.

To use cars as an analogy, the Chrome developer car has a good chance of breaking down and would be unsuitable for prolonged use. The Chrome beta car would probably get you where you're going, but the air conditioning might not work and it might stall at stoplights on occasion. The Chrome stable car has been tuned up, runs well, and should experience only minor occasional problems.

A beta version of Chrome for Mac or Linux shouldn't be expected for several months, based on the number of remaining issues, such as printing, that Chrome's developers have to deal with.

A Google spokesperson said the timing of the developer release is unrelated to Apple's developer conference next week.

If you haven't seen Chrome in action yet, take a spin through our Google Chrome image gallery and have a look at the browser that's being touted as a game-changer.


InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of Google's Chrome. Download the report here (registration required).

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