A few days ago I mentioned that Google was about to release the first Metro version of the Chrome browser. As you all know, Windows 8 will ship with two user interaces, the desktop interface that you are all familiar with, and the new Metro interface that is limited in terms of functionality when compared to the desktop. Software developers are now in a position where they need to create special Metro-versions of their applications to support that part of the operating system as well. And while they simply could plant an icon there that launches the desktop version, some believe that it is better to create special Metro versions instead.
Microsoft is for instance providing a copy of Internet Explorer 10 for Metro that is limited in functionality. It for instance does not support plugins, and seems to have been optimized for touch-based devices. Mozilla too has been working on a Metro version of Firefox for some time now and seems to have made great progress so far.
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.