Google Chrome Extensions Now Available for Mac
|Chrome for Mac gets extensions|
Google released a new beta version of its Chrome browser for Mac users today that allows it to be customized with extensions.
Extensions are software plugins that are to a Web browser what apps are to the iPhone. They allow users to add features for both entertainment and extended functionality. More than 2,200 extensions are available in Chrome's online extensions gallery organized by popularity, rating and launch date, similar to the way the Apple Apps Store is organized.
Chrome extensions have been available for PC users for several months now. Net Applications, an analytics firm that tracks browser usage among 160 million visitors to its network, reported that the Chrome browser gained .6% of global usage share in January, following the release of extensions for the Windows version of Chrome in December.
While Safari, the browser installed on all new Macs, gained similar market share last month, Chrome usage passed Safari in December 2009 to rank third in the browser world. Now that Chrome extensions are available for the Mac, Chrome is poised to capture another piece of the browser market in February.
Many Mac users have been waiting for extensions to work on the Mac version of Chrome before committing fully to the browser.
"Safari tends to lock up my Mac quite often, and doesn't handle multiple tabs very well," Adobe's Experience Design Manger, Matt Snow, told TechNewsDaily. "Flash works better on Chrome than on Safari. I also like the ability to apply themes to Chrome, the temporary status bar on the bottom, the download manager, and the expectation that it will be better tied in to Google's services in the future."
The new Chrome for Mac also offers bookmark synchronization between multiple computers. And for those with a foot in both the Mac and PC camps, bookmark sync works with Linux and Windows versions of Chrome as well.
Mac users may notice several key differences between Chrome and other browsers like Safari and Firefox. Chrome combines the address bar and search bar into one bar, called the omnibar. After a period of use, the omnibar will become second nature, and other browsers with their separate bars may seem cumbersome.
Chrome also offers drag and drop tabs, making easy work of arranging the windows across the top of the browser. Finally, users may browse in incognito mode, which may be useful for those who share a computer and don't want others to view their browsing history.
Google reports existing Chrome users should be automatically updated to the new beta when they access Chrome.