Chrome 2.0 coming to Mac, Linux

12 Jan 2009

Shortly after bringing its web-based photo-sharing service Picasa to the Mac during CES last week, Google has some more Apple-friendly news on the web-browser front.

Since last month, the first incarnation of Chrome has graduated and is officially no longer in beta. Now we are getting a preview of Chrome 2.0, and with it comes the good news that soon Mac and Linux users will get a chance to give the browser a test drive.

Strangely enough, Google co-founder Sergey Brin is a big Mac fan, and last September said the lack of support for Chrome on the Mac was “embarrassing”.

While Chrome 2.0 is being worked on by developers right now, Google released a pre-release of sorts, or alpha, into the developers’ channel, which gives a first-look at the features we can expect from the next version.

First of all, Chrome will no longer use the WinHTTP library on Windows but will use its own, meaning solid cross-platform support, and obviously a Linux and Mac release is in the pipeline.

Secondly, some new features will be added to the browser, including an obvious omission from the first build, form autocomplete, as well as improved spell-checking, full-page zoom and auto-scrolling.

Another interesting feature will be a security one: the ability to set Chrome to load only HTTPS sites, so sites with SSL certificate errors will not load.

Mark Larson, technical program manager at Google said of the browser’s alpha release on the Chromium blog: “Release early, release often. We think that’s the best way to develop software that delights people.”

Further information on all the details of developments on Chrome 2.0 can be found here on the official developer documentation.

Chrome has been applauded for its zippy load-time and stream-lined appearance, so the question is: will Chrome 2.0 be slower or more bloated, and will it lose some converts or will it simply bring improvements that puts Google up there with the big boys in the browser world, Mozilla’s Firefox and Internet Explorer?

By Marie Boran