Google Chrome making progress

Google Chrome has pretty much become my browser of choice when forced to use Windows. I’ve been running the dev channel since basically the day they made it available and have only had one instance where it was unstable (basically clicking anything made it crash). I even used it for my demos during presentations last week in Chicago. It’s just faster than Firefox. By far.

I’ve been following with a great deal of interest, then, the Chrome team’s efforts to make it available on other platforms — the ones I really care about — and the things that have held me back so far has been the inability to set the size of the fonts I want it to use and the lack of support for even rudimentary plugins (e.g., Flash). I’m a small fonts (“tiny” would come closer, if you ask a couple of my overly-vocal, highly opinionated co-workers) sort of browser user and using the monstrously-huge fonts it comes preconfigured to use was painful. With each new release on the Intel Mac and Linux platforms, then, the first thing I would check would be whether they had enabled that panel under Options…

And finally today, with 3.0.196.0 on Linux, they have… of course, as is common with dev channel or alpha level software, with this huge leap forward comes a small step backward: the toolbar buttons don’t show until you hover over them, and with each page refresh they disappear again. So it’s a mixed bag, but that’s a big step forward. No joy yet on that same front on the Mac, but I’m guessing it wont be far behind.

And I saw something over the weekend in a couple of blog posts that the plugin support is coming and is far more stable than it has been to date; it’s just not enabled by default.

Edit (08/08/2009): With 3.0.197.12 (released yesterday for the Mac), plugins are now enabled, and it looks like that may be the case on Linux, as well. Now, if I could just set font sizes on Linux, this would likely be my browser of choice. It’s just faster.

Browser beta heaven

I just realized a bit ago that for the first time I can ever remember, I have four different browsers installed on my Mac that are all in some form of pre-release state:

  • Safari 4 is a public beta
  • Firefox 3.5 beta 4
  • Opera just released their first beta of version 10
  • Google just announced that Chrome is now available as a first (pre-)alpha for the Mac (and Linux) platforms

I think the only “official” release I might have would be Camino 1.6.7, but I so rarely use it that I tend to forget I even have it installed. And even there, I could have 2.0 beta 3 installed if I chose to — maybe I will just so that I could say I have five — since they just announced a new beta…

Edit (06.09.2009): One down, as Safari 4 hits official status.
Edit (06.20.2009): Firefox 3.5 shifts to release candidate status.
Edit (06.30.2009): Two down, as Firefox 3.5 goes official.