Chrome arrives on Mac and Linux – but don’t download it!

Google has released versions of its Chrome browser for Mac OS X and Linux – but is warning users not to download them.

Chrome arrives on Mac and Linux - but don't download it!

The company has promised to develop Mac and Linux flavours of the browser since its launch last September. They have now arrived in the form of developer builds, but the company is warning they are far from ready for general public consumption.

“In order to get more feedback from developers, we have early developer channel versions of Google Chrome for Mac OS X and Linux, but whatever you do, please DON’T DOWNLOAD THEM!” urge product managers Mike Smith and Karen Grunberg on the Chromium blog. “Unless of course you are a developer or take great pleasure in incomplete, unpredictable, and potentially crashing software.”

The developer builds lack a significant number of even basic features, including the option to print, install a flash plug-in (for watching YouTube videos for example), or change the default search provider.

There are also scores of fundamental bugs in both the Linux and Mac OS X versions being reported on the Chromium issues list.

“We’ll get back to trying to get Google Chrome on these platforms stable enough for a beta release as soon as possible,” says the Google team.

Despite the flaws, the arrival of the Linux and Mac versions is a significant step in the rapid maturity of Chrome. Only Firefox and perennial minnow Opera have versions of their browsers that span across Windows, Mac and Linux.

Chrome has so far struggled to gain any significant momentum in the browser market, with only 1.8% of the worldwide market in May 2009 according to Net Applications. Google will be hoping that Mac support in particular will help drag it closer to third-placed Safari, which currently has a market share of 8.4%.

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