Chrome For Mac Beta Launch Is Imminent

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Screen shot 2009-12-03 at 10.15.25 AMSometime in the past few hours, the Mac Detailed Status page on Chromium’s website has been changed to the “Mac OS X Roadmap.” Why? Because the team has wiped out the bugs that were blocking a beta release of Chrome for Mac, and it is on the verge of launching.

Yes, those 8 remaining bugs we noted a few days ago are gone, as you can see here. On the new Roadmap page, the goal has been changed from “Beta” to “Stable/Feature Parity.” And here’s the key opening phrase: “Now that we have an initial beta release under our belts.” Google has yet to announce this, but we expect them to do so very soon, possibly even today at some point.

Based on the lastest Chrome for Mac dev build, it would seem that version 4.0.249.22 is potentially the Chrome for Mac beta release candidate. As we noted a couple days ago, it is missing a number of features that Chrome for Windows offers, but this build just added a way to set automatic updates for all users (of the machine it is installed on).

With its new Stable/Feature Parity Status, the Google team is acknowledging that there will be some missing features initially in Chrome for Mac. But updates will be coming often. Here’s what they say:

Now that we have an initial beta release under our belts, our goal is to fill in the missing features and release on a regular schedule. WinChrome’s track record demonstrates our desire to release early and often (4 major releases in about a year), so expect frequent releases that add needed functionality and improve the user experience. The majority of the tracking for this milestone will be in the bug system, and as soon as we determine what it entails, we’ll link the appropriate keyword queries here.

The following are all things needed for feature parity with windows/linux, in no particular order.

App mode
Bookmark manager
Cookie manager
Full-screen
Font and language settings
Task manager
Extensions and page actions
Bookmark Sync
PDF viewing inline
64 bit

We are still working out the definitions of M5 and M6 (beta? stable? etc.), but in the meantime, you can watch those milestones as an indicator of what will show up in the upcoming larger release.

It’s worth noting that the latest build of Chromium (the open source browser that Chrome is built from), which is now at 4.0.263.0, has bookmark sync enabled and working. Previously, you had to hack the browser a bit to turn this feature on, but now it’s an option in the menu system, so you can probably expect that to be in the first update to Chrome for Mac beta.

In the Open Issues area of Chromium’s site, only 15 total bugs for M4 (milestone 4 — version 4, the Chrome for Mac beta version) remain. But none of them are “beta blockers” so again, it would appear that Google can formally launch it at any time now. Look for that to happen very soon. In the meantime, you can download what will likely be the beta candidate here.

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