There are already hundreds of extensions available for the Windows and Linux versions of Google’s Chrome browser, and now Mac users can get in on the party.
Google has added preliminary support for extensions to Google Chrome for Mac, provided you’re willing to install and use the “dev channel” release of the browser.
If you’ve been using the Mac beta release from December 2009, you’ll need to manually download the dev-channel release. There is no automatic beta-to-dev upgrade option. Using the dev-channel release means you’ll potentially be dealing with more bugs and quirky behavior in Chrome, but in our testing the trade-off — having access to extensions — is well worth the occasional bug.
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. Instructions are on the Chromium project site.
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. Also new in the Mac dev-channel release is support for bookmark syncing across Chrome installations (which works regardless of which OS you’re using). Additionally, Chrome for Mac now supports favicon-only pinned tabs, which reduce your favorite tabs to just the favicon, saving considerable space in the tab menu bar.
Google has also released updates to the Windows and Linux dev channels. While both platforms get some welcome bug fixes, there are no major new features. If you’re running the dev channel on any platform you should be automatically updated to the latest release. If you’d like to switch from stable or beta to dev, head to the Google Chrome dev-channel page and grab a copy.