Cutting-edge Chrome Canary arrives for Mac

Mac users who want to stay a step ahead of the Chrome developer channel can try the Canary version now. Beware: it hasn't been tested by humans first.

Chrome Canary logo

Google has released Chrome Canary for Mac OS X (download), bringing the bleeding-edge version of the browser beyond just Windows.

Canaries, I learned on a tour this year of a Welsh coal mine, were used all the way until the 1980s to detect when something was wrong with the air supply; canaries would get agitated when there wasn't enough oxygen. Chrome Canary is a rapidly changing release with the very latest features designed to catch problems before they reach the broader audiences of the Chrome developer, beta, and stable channels.

"The Mac version of Google Chrome Canary...automatically updates more frequently than the Dev channel, and does not undergo any manual testing before each release. Because we expect it to be unstable and, at times, unusable, you can run it concurrently with a Dev, Beta, or Stable version of Google Chrome," said programmer Mark Mentovai in a blog post last night.

He also said there are hundreds of thousands of people using the Windows version of Chrome Canary, which debuted in July. Canary's bookmarks, stored passwords, and more can be synchronized with other versions of Chrome, but it can't be set as the default browser.

The move to faster browser development is under way. Chrome began it, and Firefox is now on a similar schedule with multiple releases. Today, Opera Software released an alpha version of Opera 11.50 that moves faster, if not necessarily as fast as Chrome and Firefox. Even Microsoft's Internet Explorer has picked up the pace, with release of a pared-down Platform Preview version of IE10 just a month after the final release of IE9.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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