Chrome for Mac OS X Lion is Coming, Even As Lion Mimics Chrome OS
If you're like many Mac users, you're currently upgrading or you have upgraded to the new Mac OS X Lion operating system. It offers many improvements over previous Apple operating systems, including a hybrid cloud/local mode of working with data and applications, and gesture- and swipe-based interface components. If you're a Mac user and an open source fan, you may also use the Google Chrome browser, and wonder whether a version of Chrome tuned for Mac OS X Lion will appear. Now, according to numerous reports, there will be such a version, and it's likely a version of Firefox tuned for the new OS will appear too.
TechCrunch spoke with Sundar Pichai, Google’s SVP of Chrome, who said that the new Canary build of Chrome is inheriting gesture-based features found in Lion and related problems with the scrollbar are going away:
"The scrollbar should get fixed in canary tomorrow if not tonight. Will disappear till you start scrolling. Fullscreen needs more work and we will add it to the list and get it fixed but will take some more time. In general, we care abt a great native experience on every platform and so the team is pushing hard to get a great stable version for Lion."
It will be very interesting to see the Chrome browser and the Lion OS march forward together, partly because Lion incorporates a number of ideas built into Google's Chrome OS, which features the Chrome browser as its desktop interface. We covered this mimicry effort from Apple, where Lion allows for Chrome OS-like cloud-based treatment of data and applications here.
As Google officials noted when announcing Chrome OS: “In Chrome OS, every application is a web application. Users don’t have to install applications. All data in Chrome OS is in the cloud.”
That's true, but this model can be interpreted as forcing users to give up control of their data on local terms, and can be criticized from the perspective of those who love their local applications and local data used with them. Many critics of Chrome OS have likened it to Larry Ellison's failed attempts to introduce thin-client "network computers" that include no local resources at all.
Apple's OS X Lion operating system, though, includes a way to boot directly into the Safari browser, creating a cloud-centric environment that is akin to the one Chrome OS introduces. Effectively, the user is booting into a browser-centric sandbox, where local data and applications are separate and secure.
All of this, of course, may have a big impact on how useful it ultimately is to use the Google Chrome browser on OS X Lion. Many users may simply prefer Lion's hybrid approach to cloud- and local-based computing over Chrome OS altogether. In any case, if you're using Lion, a tuned version of Chrome is coming.