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Google Chrome hits Mac: Our complete test

After more than a year of being a Windows-only beta, Google's own Chrome Web browser has officially landed on the Mac as a public beta. We've tested it in full, and so should you

After more than a year of being a Windows-only beta, Google's own Chrome Web browser has officially landed on the Mac as a public beta. If you've been following the developer builds over the last few weeks in particular, you won't notice much difference. If you haven't, now's the best time to see what Google's doing for OS X Web browsing.

The bottom line of Chrome's missions is speed. Then more speed. And to round things off nicely, a smidgeon more speed. Everything Chrome does, it does fast. Rendering JavaScript, the SunSpider benchmark suite shows it's capable of working more than twice as fast as Firefox 3.5, completing the test in 606ms, as opposed to Firefox's 1,460ms.

They're just numbers, but it translates to visibly speedy performance when using the browser, which seems stable enough to recommend for daily Web browsage. It's fast to start up in OS X Snow Leopard and renders pages exactly as you'd expect. Flash and Silverlight work fine too, and it passes the Acid3 standards compliancy test with a score of 100/100 -- most browsers do not. What more do you want?

Well, quite a lot, we expect. Chrome for Mac is still a work in progress, and it'll be a while before it's taken out of beta and deemed complete. As such, there are a bunch of features missing. One is extensions -- similar to Firefox's Add-ons -- which recently launched for the Windows and Linux versions. There's no support for Google Gears either, largely because Google has decided to kill it off in favour of supporting HTML5 -- the new Web standard that natively supports the functionality Google Gears provided.

But Chrome for Mac has matured to the point now that we're just moments away from clicking 'Yes' on the 'Do you want Google Chrome to be your default browser?' prompt. We encourage all Mac users to check it out.