posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 31st Mar 2009 13:18 UTC
IconWe're six months after the initial release of Chrome for Windows, and we still don't have the promised Linux and Mac OS X versions. Jordan already detailed the progress on the Linux/Gtk+ version of Chrome not too long ago, and now Ars has done the same for the Mac version. As it turns out, Chrome for Mac is making some serious progress.

Just before Consumer day Valentine's day earlier this year, Google engineer Mike Pinkerton posted a few screenshots of the work-in-progress Mac version of Chrome, but noted that it was all extremely preliminary. The renderer crashed constantly, clicking didn't work, and it all looked a bit weird. The interface was 100% Cocoa, however, and despite the renderer crashing, the browser itself kept on running.

Ars checked out recent code of Chrome for Mac, and built it. Much has been improved, as the video they made shows:


Late March Chromium Walk-through from Ars Technica on Vimeo.

You can load web pages, click on links, and work with tabs (to a degree). There is no support for plug-ins yet, though, and it's all still highly volatile. While the video shows that Chrome is still recognisable as "Chrome", it's also an obvious Cocoa application. According to Google, platform integration is important. "Mac users are especially concerned with fit and finish," Senior Software Engineer Amanda Walker told Ars, "And we have paid particular attention to those details while integrating with the OS."

This integration is more than just skin deep, however. "We wanted to do as much as possible to work with native services, from threading and the Mach layer through working with the native keychain and with PDFkit. We wanted it to feel like a real Macintosh application, from using stored passwords and the address book to Spotlight," Pinkerton explained to Ars.

Ars also had the chance to ask the Google engineers about Chrome's security features, which proved to be too formidable for the crackers during the PWN2OWN contest. "We were surprised to get as much attention as we did," Amanda Walker told Ars, "But it validated our architectural decisions, like sandboxing our renderer. We're not under any illusion that Chrome is immune from a security standpoint but this does vindicate some of the choices we made."

A beta of Chrome for Mac is supposed to arrive before or during autumn.

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