Monday, June 8, 2009

Google announces "developer" builds of Chrome for Mac OS X, Linux

"Danger!" warns the sign. If it were in front of a cliff, you might step away. Seeing though as it's in front of a piece of software, and moreover it's software from Google, it instead has roughly the effect of saying "Naked dancing and free beer inside!"

For thus it is with the announcement of "developer builds" of Google's Chrome browser to run on Mac OSX and Linux.

Come on, get it while it's hot: 

whatever you do, please DON'T DOWNLOAD THEM! Unless of course you are a developer or take great pleasure in incomplete, unpredictable, and potentially crashing software.

Why, what's missing? 

How incomplete? So incomplete that, among other things , you won't yet be able to view YouTube videos, change your privacy settings, set your default search provider, or even print.

The list of things that are among the other things is pretty extensive, running to 445 at the moment, though it's not obvious at a glance which ones are the showstoppers and which are just a bit annoying. (I'd point out that Cmd-L doesn't select the location bar, which can be a bit annoying).

As noted previously, Chrome creates each new tab (or window) as a separate processor instance, meaning that you can kill them from the command line without affecting others - which is great if you have a runaway (or stuck) process in one tab/window and don't want to have to bring the whole thing down. The problem is still figuring out which of the many processes, each called "Chrome", is the one you want to kill, though.

What's still missing overall from the Chrome experience though is a big enough group of developers who have gotten to grips with a plugin framework so that they can begin to make it more than just, well, a browser. That is arguably what made Firefox rise so dramatically from the ashes (or parting of the ways) of the Mozilla project; the Greasemonkey plugin lets people write scripts that will configure web pages they visit as they want them to be (and was used to great effect at the Guardian's Hack Day, and doubtless many others) is a game-changer, for example.

But when you look at the Google Chrome blog, there's only one entry about plugins. Hardly encouraging. Chrome, at present, is looking like a good idea that has gotten left behind in the eagerness to do other things that will catch up with potential rivals in search such as Wolfram Alpha and Microsoft's Bing. It's not in trouble - but there's a serious danger of losing momentum if something doesn't start happening that ties it in with other things.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home