Google's Chrome 5 Web browser is now available as a stable release for Mac and Linux, extending the availability of a stable version of the service to the three major operating systems.
The first stable release for Mac and Linux users comes after nearly a year of development in the dev and beta channels of Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Chrome. The first versions of Chrome for Linux and Mac debuted in June 2009 and had only limited functionality. In contrast, Google has been offering Windows builds ever since the beginning of the Chrome effort in September 2008.
Chrome 5 also improves on the synchronization capabilities of Chrome 4, which was released for Windows only in January of this year. In Chrome 4, the focus of Google's synchronization effort was bookmarks. With Chrome 5, the synchronization capabilities have been improved and now also include browser preferences such as themes as startup preferences.
One thing that Chrome 5 will not be delivering to stable users that beta users did experience is the direct integration of the Adobe Flash player into the browser.
"In recent weeks, we've been beta-testing Adobe Flash Player integration into Chrome," Brian Rakowski, a product manager at Google wrote in a blog post. "While Flash Player integration in the browser is not included by default in today's stable release, we're excited to enable this feature with the full release of Flash Player (version 10.1) soon."
As part of the Chrome 5 stable update, Google is also fixing at least six security vulnerabilities in Chrome, two which were the company had labeled as highly critical.
Google has provided few public details on the highly critical flaws at this point.
"Note that the referenced bugs may be kept private until a majority of our users are up to date with the fix," Anthony Laforge, a member of Google's Chrome development team, wrote in a blog posting.
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