Google targets Chrome for mid-year showdown with Safari

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Mac users will get their first taste of a Google-developed alternative to incumbent browsers such as Safari and Firefox when the search giant releases Chrome for Mac sometime during the "first half" of this year.



A recent report from*CNET News.com*includes a conversation with Chrome product manager Brian Radowski, who provided an update on the development of Chrome for Mac and Linux, which will soon join the already-operational Windows version.



"[The first half of 2009] is what we're hoping for," he said.* "Those two efforts proceeding in parallel.* They're at the same level of progress."



More specifically, the report notes that the Mac version has reached the "test shell" stage, able to display websites but not much else.



"[It can] render most Web pages pretty well," Rakowski said.* "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."



Also coming soon to Chrome, which is based on Apple's WebKit open source rendering engine, is a framework to handle downloadable plug-in extensions, a feature long available in Mozilla's Firefox.



Readers interested in keeping tabs on the development of Chrome for Mac can head over to the project's detailed status page, or compile and run the latest version of the TestShell project, which lacks a traditional Mac interface.



Users can subscribe to three different Chrome channels: stable, beta, and developer preview.* Google expects to update the stable channel once per quarter.



For more on*Chrome, please see earlier coverage of the Google browser initiative.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    If it doesn't get Keychain support, I'm not interested.
  • Reply 2 of 52
    Chrome = zzzzzzzzzz
  • Reply 3 of 52
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    I swapped over to Chrome on my Windows machine when I realized that Firefox 3 was a buggy piece of crap. Chrome is nothing spectacular but it gets the basics right.
  • Reply 4 of 52
    vandilvandil Posts: 187member
    I wasn't that impressed with Chrome on Windows.



    I'm more interested in Safari 4. From what I hear from developers, it's ridiculously fast, and its Java engine is much faster than Chrome's.
  • Reply 5 of 52
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    I know a lot of folks like Chrome but aren't you going a little bit overboard with the hype here? Chrome and Safari are going to have a "showdown?"



    Chrome is basically a 0.9 technology demo at this stage and only available for Windows. Making the same thing available for Mac months from now is not exactly a browser "showdown" or "shootout" or any of those other tired cowboy metaphors that tech journalists have been dragging out for the last ten years or so.



    Safari is a mature, full-featured browser, Chrome is (so far) a one trick (demo) pony. To compare them as this article does and suppose that they are competition for each other is a bit of a joke IMO. It's a virtual certainty for instance that the next shipping version of Safari, which is imminent by all accounts, will be faster, more stable and far more popular than any Chrome browser is likely to be any time soon.



    The only thing Chrome has going for it at the moment is the tabs running in their own memory space gimmick which is easily duplicated and could easily appear in "rival" browsers before the Mac version of Chrome is even out the door.
  • Reply 6 of 52
    erunnoerunno Posts: 225member
    I'm really looking forward to this release and I hope that they will port *the* major feature of the Windows version to OSX as well, i.e. the process model for each tab and plug-in. AFAIK one of the problems of porting Chromium was it being deeply entangled with Windows' process model so we'll see if Google managed to sufficiently abstract it or if they'll more or less develop two versions of the browser.



    I hope that once Chrome is released Apple will get off their buttocks and do something about the atrocious memory usage of Safari. Frankly and without hyperbole, I haven't seen such a memory hogging browser in years. It's worse than Firefox 2 and that's saying something. Compare that to Chrome: With a single empty tab open it only uses about 20-35 MB of RAM (recently with version 1.0 it even dropped to around 15 with my installation). Just close a tab and the memory is yours to use again, no frills, no inefficient garbage collection.



    The browser also doesn't stall when one tab has a lot of computation to do either due to excessive use of JavaScript or misbehaving Flash applets. It's one of the things you really learn to appreciate after using Chrome for a while and I started to hate Safari's beachball all the more afterwards.



    I'm curious what they will do about the interface. Their full screen interface has some good ideas, like tabs touching the upper border of the screen and thus making them easy to hit. This obviously does not work well on OSX where the menu bar has a monopoly on this particular space. I have also no idea if their current UI library Skia does support OSX at all, and if not, if they will add it or use a native Cocoa interface. Judging by Google's latest additions to OSX (i.e. Picasa) I wouldn't hold my breath about being deeply integrated with the host system though.
  • Reply 7 of 52
    Deleted.
  • Reply 8 of 52
    Google's Picasa 3 on Mac is basically a WINE port of the Windows application, wrapping the Windows app up with all the libraries needed to make it run on the Mac. That doesn't bode well for Chrome on the Mac. If I wanted to use Windows applications, I'd use Windows...
  • Reply 9 of 52
    Deleted.
  • Reply 10 of 52
    erunnoerunno Posts: 225member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    Safari is a mature, full-featured browser, Chrome is (so far) a one trick (demo) pony.



    It really depends on what you understand under "full-featured". After all, we are talking about the browser which does not support sorting of bookmarks. :-/



    Quote:

    It's a virtual certainty for instance that the next shipping version of Safari, which is imminent by all accounts, will be faster, more stable and far more popular than any Chrome browser is likely to be any time soon.



    I think someone is going totally overboard with his fanboism here. Chrome has an edge over Safari's single-process model when it comes to stability and responsiveness right now. I'm not sure what Safari 4 will bring to the table to ease this problem as an unresponsive UI is far more nerve-wrecking than the warm feeling inside knowing that Safari 4 is a few microseconds faster in synthetic benchmarks. Plus, Google isn't sleeping either and the Chrome is developing rapidly.



    Quote:

    The only thing Chrome has going for it at the moment is the tabs running in their own memory space gimmick which is easily duplicated and could easily appear in "rival" browsers before the Mac version of Chrome is even out the door.



    Ah, I get it. You have no idea what you are talking about.
  • Reply 11 of 52
    I'm really looking forward to the release of Google Chrome for the Mac. It's the only browser I've used on my PC since it came out... I love it.
  • Reply 12 of 52
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    Chrome will be nice for Mac users who want to access Google Docs. I imagine that Google will make sure Chrome on all platforms supports GD very well.



    I will admit though the webkit nightlies are pretty nice and it gives a nice little pop

    in screen rendering on my Mac. I don't really see any reason why Safari won't be my

    browser of choice come final delivery.



    Though the more choices the merrier.
  • Reply 13 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jlaselva View Post


    Yes! Whenever I leave Safari open for more than a few hours, my entire system slows down to the point where it's almost unusable?even when there are no windows open in Safari! Safari may be fast, but over time it gobbles up system resources and doesn't let them go.



    I have this problem on Windows. Even if I'm not using it, its memory usage goes up, up, up.



    I jettisoned Safari from my Mac the day I installed Leopard.
  • Reply 14 of 52
    erunnoerunno Posts: 225member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Chrome will be nice for Mac users who want to access Google Docs. I imagine that Google will make sure Chrome on all platforms supports GD very well.



    Are there any known problems with Google Docs when using Safari or Firefox on OSX?
  • Reply 15 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Erunno View Post


    ... I think someone is going totally overboard with his fanboism here. Chrome has an edge over Safari's single-process model when it comes to stability and responsiveness right now. I'm not sure what Safari 4 will bring to the table to ease this problem as an unresponsive UI is far more nerve-wrecking than the warm feeling inside knowing that Safari 4 is a few microseconds faster in synthetic benchmarks. Plus, Google isn't sleeping either and the Chrome is developing rapidly....



    Well, you appear to be heavily invested in Chrome so it's likely that nothing I can say will change your mind.

    To imply that "I don't know what I am talking about" though is both rude and inaccurate.



    My words were this:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by me


    ...It's a virtual certainty for instance that the next shipping version of Safari, which is imminent by all accounts, will be faster, more stable and far more popular than any Chrome browser is likely to be any time soon....



    I don't see any inaccuracies there at all.



    All testing lately indicates that the next shipping version of Safari will be faster than Chrome on all benchmarks, and not just by a little bit either. Overall, Safari is known to be a very stable browser and it's in it's third iteration as I also noted. It's also wildly popular on the Mac and Chrome isn't even out yet, so it's a safe bet Safari will continue to be popular for at least a little while.



    Despite Chrome's technical advantage on multiple processes (and nowhere did I argue that this wasn't a great thing), overall stability is of course going to be greater in Safari. Chrome offers crash protection from errant Flash applications etc. but it's a beta browser in all new code. I find it extremely unlikely that it would be more stable than Safari except perhaps in that one tiny area that it was actually designed to be. If that's your extraordinary claim, (that it is more stable) then it's up to you to provide some kind of proof of that. But wait, we don't even have a product to compare yet do we?



    My argument would also be that the number of times someone is actually running a web application is so few at this point that the crash protection is not going to come into play very often at all in terms of stability comparisons. At least in the first round, the stability crown is going to go to the browser with the most mature code.



    So ... I don't see anything horribly wrong with what I said or anything inaccurate in it either.

    Feel free to throw a few more insults my way though if it makes you feel better, and weave whatever conspiracy theories you like.
  • Reply 16 of 52
    postulantpostulant Posts: 1,272member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Erunno View Post




    I hope that once Chrome is released Apple will get off their buttocks and do something about the atrocious memory usage of Safari. Frankly and without hyperbole, I haven't seen such a memory hogging browser in years. It's worse than Firefox 2 and that's saying something. Compare that to Chrome: With a single empty tab open it only uses about 20-35 MB of RAM (recently with version 1.0 it even dropped to around 15 with my installation). Just close a tab and the memory is yours to use again, no frills, no inefficient garbage collection.



    How many MB of Ram does Safari suck up on your machine? 50 - 65 ish?
  • Reply 17 of 52
    erunnoerunno Posts: 225member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Postulant View Post


    How many MB of Ram does Safari suck up on your machine? 50 - 65 ish?



    After a day of heavy browsing (including lots of Flash, JavaScript and pictures)? Easily over 400 MB RAM. And even after closing all tabs Safari won't release it. And before someone asks: I don't use any of the so-called unofficial extensions as I had some bad experiences with stability in the the past.
  • Reply 18 of 52
    ivladivlad Posts: 742member
    Too bad Safari 4 will kill it
  • Reply 19 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by complicity View Post


    Google's Picasa 3 on Mac is basically a WINE port of the Windows application, wrapping the Windows app up with all the libraries needed to make it run on the Mac. That doesn't bode well for Chrome on the Mac. If I wanted to use Windows applications, I'd use Windows...



    Picasa on Linux is garbage, ala going through WINE.
  • Reply 20 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iVlad View Post


    Too bad Safari 4 will kill it



    Safari 4 is shaping up very nicely. It smokes even on a PowerPC iBook 1Ghz with 1.5G Ram running OS X 10.4.11.
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