While We Wait For Chrome For Mac, Mozilla's Camino Gets An Update

Screen shot 2009-09-18 at 12.27.16 PMWhile Mac users grow impatient for Google’s Chrome browser to come to the platform, there’s a small bit of good news today: A new beta version of the excellent Camino browser.

Camino is a browser built by Mozilla specifically for the Mac. Unlike the much more popular Firefox, Camino is extremely lean and fast. It’s so fast that it’s been my browser of choice for the past several years. And the new version, Camino 2.0 beta 4, released today, offers some nice improvements. Among them:

  • Phishing and Malware Protection: Camino 2.0 Beta 4 includes phishing and malware protection based on Google Safe Browsing.
  • Full Content Zoom: The scale increment used by full content zoom has been reduced to provide smoother zooming. There is also a new Zoom Text Only item in the View menu to toggle the zoom keyboard shortcuts between full content zoom and larger or smaller text.
  • Software Update: When quitting for an automatic update, Camino will now save and restore pages that were open before quitting regardless of whether the “Load the pages that were open before quitting” preference is enabled.
  • Updated Appearance: The tab bar, Bookmark Bar, and folder icons now better match the appearance of Mac OS X 10.5 and newer.

The key feature for many users will be the last one. Mozilla has finally updated Camino to blend in a little bit better with OS X. While the changes in the look and feel definitely aren’t huge, they are subtle and nice.

But here’s the real interesting thing about Camino, its project lead, Mike Pinkerton, also happens to be the guy leading the development of the Mac version of Chrome for Google. It seems likely that most of his time is now spent on Chrome (and his Twitter updates indicate as much), but he has always maintained that work would continue on Camino for Mozilla.

Of course, it has been almost a year since Camino 2 first went into beta testing (last December) and it’s still not done yet. Meanwhile, in that time, there have been three official releases of Chrome (though, again, none for the Mac). Still, it’s nice to get even little updates to Camino. It remains a great browser.

On the Chrome end, Google has publicly stated that it will be available before the end of the year. Judging from the Chromium builds, it seems very close. No word on when Camino 2 will be finalized, but that too, seems pretty stable.

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