Google Chrome Gets Extended

Stephen Yagielowicz
Mac-based users of Google's Chrome web browser can now enjoy some of the software's benefits that were heretofore reserved for their Windows- and Linux-based counterparts, with the company's recently released support for extensions.

The free upgrade is not without a catch however, as users are required to install and use the browser's "dev channel" release in order to access the new feature set, which was not available with the original, December, 2009 beta release. This dev-channel release must be manually downloaded and installed as there is currently no automatic upgrade option from Chrome's beta version.

According to some experts, dev-channel releases may not be for the casual user, as they tend to have more bugs and less stability than general releases, but this is the price of having the ability to use browser extensions in non-standard environments.

"Downloading a separate .dmg file is a small technical hoop to jump through, but because the support for extensions is experimental, it's only available to those willing to put in the effort to get it," Webmonkey tech analyst Scott Gilbertson wrote. "Of course, the currently available Chrome extensions are limited when compared to what Firefox users will be accustomed to, but at least Mac users finally have access to ad blockers (aka 'ad hiders') and other useful extensions like OpenID auto-fill for faster logins."

Bookmark syncing and tabs that only show favicon images are also available in the latest Mac dev-channel release.