Google releases Chrome beta for Mac, Linux, adds extensions

As development continues on Chrome OS, Google is also hard at work polishing up its Chrome web browser and porting it over to other operating systems. In a post on the Official Google Blog this morning, the company announced beta releases of Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux, in addition to extension support for the Windows and Linux versions.

Mac users will find the OS X Chrome beta over on this page, while Linux users can head here. Google says it’s added a little something extra to make each iteration of the browser fit in, too.

About the Mac version, Google Product Manager Brian Rakowski writes, "We wanted Google Chrome to feel at home on the Mac, so we’ve focused on uniting our clean, simple design with subtle animations and effects to create a snappy and satisfying browsing experience on OS X." The Linux version, meanwhile, features "native GTK themes, updates that are managed by the standard system package manager, and many other features that fit in natively with the operating system where possible."

Windows and Linux users can also check out the new beta extension support, which pretty much mirrors what Mozilla offers in Firefox. (It looks like you’ll need to get the Chrome 4.0 beta for that, though.) Google has even put up a central repository for the existing library of "more than 300" Chrome extensions, and as you can see in the screenshot above, there’s a neat little extension manager, too. Developers can learn more about extensions on the Chromium blog.

Comments closed
    • derFunkenstein
    • 13 years ago

    1.) It’s javascript
    2.) didn’t think it was possible for an NES emulator to run slower than real-time on a Core Duo, but even in Chrome it did just that.

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    Find on page (Control+F) is better in Chrome (and IE, surprisingly) than Firefox, alsog{<.<}g Right click+r is how I've always refreshed browsers, but it don't work in Chrome. They all have their downfallsg{<.<}g

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    hah, accidentally hit backspace and lost everythingg{!}g

    • UberGerbil
    • 13 years ago

    That page does not use flash; it’ll run fine without flash installed. It’s all javascript and the HTML 5 canvas object (which is why it doesn’t work in IE). It is impressive, but it is in no way a measure of flash performance.

    • srg86
    • 13 years ago

    Well I’m glad there is an easy to get hold of Linux version, I’m just running it now and it seems fine but…

    I just don’t feels safe not having NoScript around, or without AdblockPlus.

    Also the option for cookes “Accept Cookies only from sites I visit”, does that block third party cookies? It’s not clear to me.

    UPDATE: ahh found Adblock, one down and one to go.

    • poulpy
    • 13 years ago

    Unsure of the validity of the benchmark but just tried the first ROM and got:
    Chrome (4.0.249.30): 60fps
    Firefox (3.6b): 15fps
    Opera (10.10): 5fps
    IE (7): initialises forever..

    • poulpy
    • 13 years ago

    Let me put it this way:
    Yes many people have 10 tabs opened at the same time.
    Now of those people how many open them clicking really-really-fast 10 times in a row?
    And of those few how many would care of the -hypothetical- .5s delay per tab compared to Opera/FF, when they open 10 for future read!?

    Hence me saying this is all a bit academic* as it wouldn’t reflect any real life situation. But as usual: your mileage may vary..

    * – Interesting though but not worth demoting the browser in real life usage

    • Da_Boss
    • 13 years ago

    For those who doubt Chrome’s dominanace in flash performance:

    §[<http://benfirshman.com/projects/jsnes/<]§ Try using that with any browser other than Chrome and prepare for a slideshow.

    • Da_Boss
    • 13 years ago

    Are you using the Mac beta? I haven’t seen those new tab issues ever, in Windows or Mac. I do agree that Flash is slower on the Mac side, but the flash in Windows seems great.

    • Da_Boss
    • 13 years ago

    I agree with your qualms about flash. It’s not as fast as it is on Firefox or Safari on Mac. But it more than makes up for that with it’s awesome JavaScript performance. Although the Mac version is not as fast as the windows one is, it’s still better than Firefox, and just as good as Safari.

    As for the smooth scrolling, on the Mac, it’s great. 95% as good as Safari’s is. I imagine it’ll only get better as time passes.

    As it stands now, Chrome is, I think, the best browser on Windows, hands down. But it’s a tough call between it and Safari on Mac. Not bad for a Beta.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    By far? No, not even close to being that much better in my opinion. Better? I agree, but not by much.

    For instance the Flash performance in Chrome isn’t as good as Firefox or IE. Chrome really kicks up processor usage when viewing a site like NFL.com and the Flash based play by play interactive view.

    Chrome also, and across every install I’ve had with it, has major scrolling issues. It simply isn’t as smooth and ironically this really manifests itself in Google Reader.

    Additionally the extensions help and the ones I need are all there in basic form right now but not quite up to the quality of the Firefox extensions. For instance the Gmail checkers (I’ve tried official and two non-official) are not as good as Firefox ones. There’s also a lack of basic tools such as Define on Firefox that adds a quick “define: highlighted word” search on Google to the context menu.

    The best? Overall I think so. But it is still very close.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    I guess I’ll be dissenting opinion on this matter. I find the Firefox bar to be superior, it is close though. The Firefox bar makes each entry in the bar much more clear and highlights the title of the page instead of the address, which I find more useful. However, Chrome does have the first entry in the bar already so you don’t have to arrow down and grab the first entry you want.

    So it kind of depends on use. for general type in “te” get techreport.com or “es” get ESPN Chrome is superior. But for searching your history quickly I find Firefox better. I find the latter to be more useful to me and therefore Firefox slightly better in this regard.

    • BlackStar
    • 13 years ago

    Agreed, Chrome’s address bar wins in the details.

    • BlackStar
    • 13 years ago

    Some of us actually *do* open 10 new tabs at the same time in order to read them at some later point. Opera can do that without breaking its stride. Chrome… not so much. I’m attributing this to the process sandboxing, because Opera and Firefox don’t really suffer from this.

    Two more speed issues in Chrome:
    1. Zoom + scroll is very slow on “heavy” pages. Visit §[<http://gamedev.net<]§, zoom by 2 clicks and try scrolling around to see what I mean. 2. Flash runs slower in Chrome than in Opera or Firefox. This is on a mobile Core 2 @1.8GHz with 2.5GB memory + SSD, mind you, so it's not as if the system is lacking in CPU power. Other than that, Chrome loads web pages significantly faster than its competition, so most people won't take notice of the slowdown issues *after* page load. I like Chrome, but it still has a long way to go before it can become my primary browser (Opera user here).

    • poulpy
    • 13 years ago

    Usability wise I think it’s actually a wee bit better -IIRC- as in Chrome the first entry of the drop-down list is already selected in the address bar so you just have to hit Enter and you go.
    Whereas you need to press Down first on Firefox which in the big scheme of things isn’t that big of a problem but I do get caught every time I get back to Firefox on Linux from Chrome on Windows.

    • poulpy
    • 13 years ago

    q[

    • djgandy
    • 13 years ago

    can’t say I’m seeing that….even on my low powered laptop.

    • BlackStar
    • 13 years ago

    This is an extremely fast browser, but it does get slow when you try to open multiple tabs at the same time (due to the separate process architecture).

    Try middle clicking 8-10 techreport links very quickly to see what I mean – my Core 2 starts slowing down heavily under this load. Firefox and (especially) Opera handle this use case much better.

    • pedro
    • 13 years ago

    In my opinion it is.

    • djgandy
    • 13 years ago

    Well I’d like to see where the naysayers are now.

    This is by far the best browser on the market, and bookmark sync and other plugins just makes it even better (I missed that when the google one went from Firefox).

    It’s basic but fully functional, and I think Google’s aim is to tie everything in with your google account, and hopefully other developers can too. I don’t want 10 different accounts, each for every personalised plug-in I require.

    The best thing about chrome, and it always has been, is the speed. On a desktop machine you can have 40 tabs open no probs, whereas firefox will wobble (or at least did 6 months ago). More importantly on a CULV 1.2 GHz Core Duo I can have 10+ tabs open with no problem or noticeable loss in performance. You just can’t do that with FF or IE and maintain a responsive browser.

    Thumbs up for Google, and I hope that version 4.0 continues to take market share successful for them when it goes to stable.

    • Firestarter
    • 13 years ago

    For the users who recently switched, is Chrome’s address bar as good as Firefox’s awesomebar nowadays?

    • pedro
    • 13 years ago

    Great to see the Mac version in beta now. I’ve been using the dev builds for ages now and TBH I can’t see any difference whatsoever.

    Can’t wait for extensions and a bookmark manager.

    Go Google Go!

    (Chrome on Ubuntu is great too.)

    • Tumbleweed
    • 13 years ago

    Yay for Session List! Web Devleoper Mini (which I’ve not actually used yet). And no restart necessary after extension install. Nicely done.

    Now all I need are the feature equivalent of Tab Mix Plus, and this will probably be my main browser, assuming Web Developer Mini has enough features.

    • Skrying
    • 13 years ago

    Very happy to see the Extensions repository up. I’m using Chrome as my main browser now. All the extensions I need are at least in beta. The only issue is Flash performance quite a bit worse than Firefox but I can live with that.

    • indeego
    • 13 years ago

    The a*thw*** extension works quite well.

    Chrome is now my #1 browserg{<.<}g Now part of the hive, I guess.

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    “““““ ””””””””” working here :S

    What is wrong is that the favicons and x’s in the tabs are too low…

    Also some of the preference GUIs aren’t working smoothly with the Dusk theme. Then again Thunderbird fails miserably here too.

    I imagine that the software is ignoring system DPI and configurations right now. Once that is fixed, for you, it will break Tech Report for me, and eventually I’ll just decide to tell the computer to give up being honest about the screen DPI 🙂

    • nagashi
    • 13 years ago

    I’ve been using chrome for about a week as my primary browser on linux, mostly because I’d just gotten fed up with Firefox on linux. The difference is truly night and day. And now that a reasonable selection of extensions is out, all the more reason to switch.

    I’m still waiting on a good mouse gesture add-on though….

    • BlackStar
    • 13 years ago

    Unfortunately, I am getting kerning issues on Chrome/Linux (off-by-1 errors). Try typing ”””””””””” into a text field inside a webpage and you’ll see a gap every three or four letters (unlike e.g. Firefox or Opera).

    Once they fix this issue, as well as the font size bug on tabs and the omnibar (text is smaller than my system setting), I’ll be a happy camper.

    • 5150
    • 13 years ago

    Perhaps they’re not done with it.

    • Helmore
    • 13 years ago

    Could be anything, just be patient and you will eventually get it as well.

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    So why no extensions on the mac version ?! What was the big hurdle ?

    Adi

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    Well I’m posting from Linux Chrome (which I have just downloaded, and also installed the FlashBlock extension, hurrah!), and it’s fixed the font sizing issues that I was having when reading articles on this site (tiny article font, huge comment font (one is clearly defined in px, the other pt or similar) because I have a 166dpi display).

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