Yes, A Beta Version Of Chrome For Mac Is Just Weeks Away

Screen shot 2009-11-13 at 12.38.18 AMYesterday, there were a number of stories suggesting that a beta version of Chrome for Mac was due in early December. These stemmed from CNET’s Stephen Shankland digging around a Chrome Extension Google Group page where Nick Baum, a Chrome Product Manager, made what seemed to be a very clear comment. “The earlier you switch, the more time you will have to polish your experience for our Beta launch in early December,” Baum wrote two days ago. But as we all know, sometimes team members talk out of place, and in doing, so set expectations too high. So is a beta version of Chrome for Mac really due in early December?

We asked Google about it and here’s what they had to say, “As I’m sure you know, we generally don’t comment about timelines for releasing specific features or products. But we’ve been quoted a few times saying Chrome for mac should be out by the end of the year.” I was then pointed to an Reuters article from September that quoted Google’s Product Management Vice President, Sundar Pichai, as saying that Chrome for Mac would be released by year’s end.

So it would appear that everything is still definitely on track or Google would have simply given me a “no comment.” But you’ll notice Pichai didn’t originally specify that this would be a beta version, so I asked if it was safe to assume that it will be a beta version and not a final, stable release that will be out. “Yep, that would be a safe assumption. Kind of the same model as the Windows version — launch it in beta first then take it out of beta (upgrade to the stable channel) when it’s ready,” a Google spokesperson wrote to us in an email.

So basically, yes, a beta version of Chrome for Mac will be coming in a matter of weeks. It will drop sometime in December.

This is great news considering that after continually improving the Chromium (the open source browser behind Chrome) builds for months now, there has seemed to be some setbacks recently in terms of both performance and wonky UI elements. The situation got so bad that I stopped using the daily builds of Chromium and switched over to the actual Chrome for Mac dev version. This version has been impressively stable for a few weeks now, and it auto-updates when a new stable build is ready.

If you’re not using it yet, you should check it out. Seeing as it’s pretty much the middle of November already, it’s likely very close to what the beta build will be. The only major element that does not appear to be working right now is the bookmark manager. But when you first install Chrome, it should ask you to import your bookmarks from Safari or Firefox, and this works fine. The build numbers for Chromium and the Chrome dev builds are not far off either.