None too soon!
Chrome’s forthcoming 2.0 release is going to bring a few features of interest to Windows users, for sure – user scripts, for example. But potentially more interesting is the progress being made towards getting official Linux and Mac builds of the browser out.
Looking at the release notes, there is definite indication that Mac and Linux builds are under development. Most notable among the changes is:
“New network code. Google Chrome now has its own implementation of the HTTP network protocol (we were using the WinHTTP library on Windows, but need common code for Mac and Linux).”
Updating Windows-centric segments of the core Chrome code-base is an important step in Google’s path to get an official Mac and Linux release out. Third-parties have already ported the browser to both of those operating systems, so there’s no reason that Google shouldn’t do so officially. Especially if it wants to improve its market share to take on the like of Firefox, Opera and, heaven forbid, even Internet Explorer.
According to Brian Rakowski, Chrome’s product manager, work on both the Mac and Linux Chrome versions is “proceeding in parallel. They’re at the same level of progress.” However currently neither is running in more than a basic form. The Mac build, for example, “is able to render most Web pages pretty well. But in terms of the user experience, it’s very basic. We have not spent any time building out features. We’re still iterating on making it stable and getting the architecture right.” The hope is to have both Linux and Mac Chrome releases ready by the end of the first half of this year, though.
The Windows pre-beta of 2.0 is available now for the adventurous.