Google Readies Metro Version Of Chrome For Windows 8

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Release preview users can test out the new version of Chrome, but the browser won’t work on ARM-based Windows 8 machines

Google has announced a Metro-compatible version of Chrome for Windows 8 for those running the release preview of the upcoming version of Microsoft’s operating system.

Interested users will be able to try the web browser in the next Chrome Dev channel, by setting it as the default browser.

Metro stations

Microsoft has pledged Windows 8 will work equally well with both PCs and tablets, with users able to switch between the traditional desktop and the new Metro interface, which is among a raft of new UI elements which have replaced Aero, which featured in both Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Google began working on a Metro-style version of Chrome in March, amid warnings that converting it would not be a straightforward task, as demonstrated by the difficulties experienced by Mozilla with its Firefox browser.

The initial release will support basic Windows 8 system functionality, such as charms and snap view, and Google will spend the next few months smoothing out the UI on Metro, improving touch support and ironing out any flaws with the help of feedback from users.

However the browser will only work on x86 and not WinRT, which is the version designed to run on ARM-based tablets as Microsoft has ensured that Internet Explorer is the only supported browser in non-Metro view. A number of WinRT tablets are expected to be released when Windows 8 is launched, possibly in October.

Both Google and Mozilla complained about Microsoft locking out other browsers from the classic version of WinRT.

“We’re committed to bringing the speed, simplicity, and security of Chrome into Windows 8, and we look forward to working with you on it,” said Carlos Pizano, software engineer and Metro Gnome at Google.

Last month, Chrome was the most popular browser in the world for a one week period in its history, toppling Internet Explorer temporarily. However, Microsoft’s browser remained the most popular in the UK and North America.

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