Google Chrome: Windows 8 Metro version preview coming soon
The two interfaces of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system put software developers in an awkward position. If they want their software to be available on the full system they would need to create two different versions of the application, one for the Metro interface, and one for the desktop (which already exists in the case of software that is already available for Windows). While it is certainly possible to simply add a link to the Metro interface that switches to the desktop version when executed, it would mean that the software would not really support the Metro user interface.
When it comes to web browsers, we do know that Microsoft has already implemented two versions of its Internet Explorer 10 browser that support both interfaces. Mozilla is also working on a Firefox Metro version for Windows 8, and is making good progress so far.
Google back in March announced that it too would create a Google Chrome version for Windows 8′s Metro interface but did not release a test version yet. The company yesterday announced that the initial release of Chrome in Metro mode will be made available soon in the next Chrome Dev Channel release.
The Metro version of Google Chrome will be compatible with Microsoft’s Windows 8 Release Preview which the company made available some time ago. According to Carlos Pizano, a software engineer working on Chrome, the version of Chrome will support basic Windows 8 functionality like charms and snap view. The developers plan to smooth out the version of the browser over the coming months which includes improved touch support and of course the elimination of bugs.
Windows 8 users who want to try out Chrome’s Metro implementation need to install the Dev channel of the browser in the Windows 8 Release Preview to do so. It may take a while before the first release with Metro integration gets released though. If the browser is already installed on the system, it can be automatically upgraded to add the functionality to the system. As always, you will also read it here when that happens.
It is for now not really clear how browsers like Firefox or Chrome will be different in their Metro versions. Google may however be at an advantage over Firefox in this regard, at least when it comes to Flash support in the browser. As you may know, Metro browsers are not able to load plugins which includes the Adobe Flash plugin. Microsoft bypassed the restriction by integrating Flash into Internet Explorer 10 natively, and Google has had Flash integrated in Chrome for quite some time. It is still not clear if Chrome will be able to make use of the native Flash integration at this point in time.