By Harry McCracken | Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm
Here at the Web 2.0 Summit, a surprise guest dropped by this afternoon to be interviewed by cochair John Battelle: Google cofounder Sergey Brin. An audience member asked him a question that was on my mind, too: Exactly what’s going on with Google Chrome for the Mac, which still hasn’t shipped well over a year after the Windows version debuted?
Brin didn’t get defensive: “The timing…has been one of the disappointments of the Chrome project for me,” he said. (Then he said he was sorry the Windows and Mac versions hadn’t shipped simultaneously.) He also noted that he’s using Chrome for Mac himself in pre-release these days–even though it crashes more than he’d like. At another conference last week, I saw Google VP Bradley Horowitz using Chrome on a Mac, too; I suspect that there are legions of Chrome for Mac users at the Googleplex.
As Brin noted, Google doesn’t make it easy to find the pre-release version of Chrome for Mac–actually, it actively discourages non-developers from doing so. But he encouraged those in the audience here who were jonesing for Mac Chrome to download and use it. You can do so here.
Sergey’s right: Chrome for Mac is useful right now, but still needs work. My main problem with it is that it occasionally fails to load sites until I’ve pressed refresh a few times. I also can’t figure out why the Mac version of the browser has nine menus, vs. two in the Windows edition; it rankles me a bit, since Chrome’s outstanding quality is its simplicity. Even so, I’m spending a fair amount of time with this rough draft–when I’m on a Mac, I use it maybe a third of the time. But I’m still champing at the bit to get a version that’s truly ready for prime time. In 2009 if possible…