The browser wars never cease. Google has announced an updated beta version of its Chrome Web browser, offering features like extensions and bookmark syncing that were left out of the initial beta release for Mac.
Chrome aims for speed and stability. The browser has a spare look and feel, with tabs on top and a single box for Web addresses and searching. To make your life easier when you install it, Chrome will import your bookmarks and history from another browser.
Support for extensions and bookmark-syncing was previously available in the developer-channel build. The features have also long been included in the Windows version.
Extensions for Chrome are similar to Firefox add-ons, giving you the ability to customize and add new functionality to the browser. Google says there are 2,200 extensions with more being added all the time in the extensions gallery. Popular extensions currently include a dictionary, a slideshow viewer, and a password manager.
Chrome now lets you sync bookmarks and favorites among all the computers you use, including Windows machines. The current beta also adds a bookmark and cookie manager; if you use lots of tabs, you’ll want to check out the task manager that allows you to better organize them.
With the new beta, Chrome may finally become a viable alternative to other mainstream Mac browsers like Safari and Firefox. Be aware, of course, that it’s still in beta, so the browsing experience may still have bugs (though of course, Google is notorious for keeping things in beta for ages).
Chrome is free, of course, and true to its slim nature, is just a 19 MB download. If you installed the previous the Chrome beta, you’ll be automatically updated. (You can check by going to the About window and looking for version 5.0.307.) Chrome requires a Mac with an Intel processor and OS X 10.5 or later.