Google has long maintained three distribution channels for its Chrome Web browser: A stable channel, a beta channel, and a developer channel, representing points on the continuum of code stability. Convinced that its developer channel isn't sufficiently buggy, Google is introducing the <a href="http://tools.google.com/dlpage/chromesxs">Google Chrome Canary Build</a>, for those who really want to live on the edge.

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

August 2, 2010

2 Min Read

Google has long maintained three distribution channels for its Chrome Web browser: A stable channel, a beta channel, and a developer channel, representing points on the continuum of code stability. Convinced that its developer channel isn't sufficiently buggy, Google is introducing the Google Chrome Canary Build, for those who really want to live on the edge.Google describes its developer channel thus: "This developer preview channel is where ideas get tested (and sometimes fail). The Dev channel can be very unstable at times, and new features usually require some manual configuration to be enabled. Still, simply using Dev channel releases is an easy (practically zero-effort) way for anyone to help improve Google Chrome."

Forget "very unstable at times" and get ready to move to even greater instability, with updates that arrive at a greater frequency than the weekly developer channel releases.

"We plan to update the Canary Build more frequently than the Dev channel, with riskier changes, and usually without a human being ever verifying that it works, so the Canary Build is only for users who want to help test Google Chrome and are comfortable using a highly unstable browser that will often break entirely," wrote Google Chrome product manager Henry Bridge in a blog post.

Google Chrome Canary Build is only available for Windows at the moment and it cannot be set as your default browser -- you may be able to crash more frequently but don't count on doing so conveniently.

Google is adding the Chrome Canary Build to get feedback from testers more quickly, without alienating early adopters and developers, who evidently see the developer channel as a usable future version of Chrome rather than as unfinished alpha code.

The question is where does this end? Like razor maker Gillette, which increased its blade count from one to five between 1971 and 2006, Google appears to be determined to push the envelope to the point of absurdity.

How long will it be before we see Chrome Typo Build, unfinished code that just hangs?

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About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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