Faded Chrome: Google’s Incomplete Mac Browser

By  |  Monday, November 30, 2009 at 9:45 am

If you use a Mac and have been looking forward to an OS X version of Google’s Chrome browser, your patience is about to be rewarded. As TechCrunch’s MG Siegler reports, the Chrome team is stomping out the final handful of bugs it’s planning to eradicate before it ships its first OS X beta. I’ve been waiting for the beta for fifteen months, since the arrival of Chrome for Windows and the first word that a Mac version was in the works.

But MG’s story left me feeling kind of glum about Chrome for OS X. He details some of the features that the first beta will lack, at least in complete form:

  • The bookmark manager
  • App Mode, which lets you launch Web apps such as Gmail in streamlined browser frames from a desktop icon
  • Gears, the Google technology that lets Gmail, Remember the Milk, and other Web services work even when you’re disconnected from the Web
  • Full-screen mode
  • Bookmark syncing
  • Extension ¬†support

And I’ve already grumbled about the fact that Chrome for OS X inexplicably needs nine menus to accomplish what Chrome for Windows does in two of ’em. Basically, it looks like multiple things that I thought made Chrome Chrome will be missing from its Mac incarnation.

I don’t mean to be too churlish–especially since some of the missing stuff may get added back in before Mac Chrome leaves beta status and becomes an officially shipping project. I’d love to see Chrome reach feature parity on both platforms soon, in the way that Firefox is just Firefox, whether you’re in Windows, OS X, or Linux. Or at least to get the word that parity is the long-term goal.

For now, Chrome is my main browser when I’m in Windows (which I am the majority of the time at the moment) and I’ll still reach for Safari when I’m on a Mac. I’m okay with that, since I tend to be a promiscuous browser user anyhow. (I’ve also gone through Firefox and Flock periods recently, and dabble in Opera from time to time.)

But if you’d told me fifteen months ago that it would still be unclear in late 2009 when Mac users would get all of Chrome’s goodness, I would never have believed you…


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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Says:

    I’ve been using the dev builds on my macs for about 6 months. The ONE thing I really NEED ASAP is the freaking bookmark manager. How hard is that to code?

  2. tom b Says:

    Google does search extremely well, but, it appears that their skills as software mavens need much honing. People with high hopes for ChromeOS or Android 3.0 should take careful note.

  3. Simon Says:

    From the dev builds I’d say I’ll be switching my main browser for the first time since Safari debuted. Shame it’s missing those things, but it’s fast, light and (unlike, say, Firefox) feels like a Mac app.

  4. joe c Says:

    They’re not making the Mac a high enough priority to make me care about using this. Firefox releases Win, Mac and Linux all at the same time, and that’s the bar set for everyone else.

  5. D9 Says:

    Really…is this 1998? Do we really need to go back to the days of Windows apps appearing months, years before a Mac version does?

    With the plethora of browsers out there, warts & all, I’ve got no patience for a would-be-cool browser with a Google icon on it, regardless of what they say it MIGHT do.


  6. RB Says:

    I have to agree with D9. If there is to be a Mac version of software then release it with the other OS versions and don’t handicap it in comparison to the other releases. A sure fire way to upset the “fanboys” is to release a lesser-than version of software for the Mac. It also shows that you as a developer don’t consider the Mac platform/community worth the effort to do the job right from the start.

    Do it right or not at all.

  7. Peter Kasting Says:

    Harry: Yes, feature parity is the long-term goal.

  8. Rick Roberts Says:

    Oh, stop your grumbling and stick with Safari. It’s a world-class browser with the fit and finish you expect from a world-class company. I will not patronize a company that treats the Mac as an afterthought.

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  1. Chrome for Mac–Finally! | Technologizer Says:

    […] Chrome for OS X is missing some of the key features that make Chrome’s Windows version such a distinctive browser, including App Mode and […]