CNET reports on recent discussion that indirectly reveals that Google is planning on releasing an official beta version of its Chrome browser for Mac in "early December". Developer builds of the Mac version of Chrome have been available for testing for several months, but the move to a beta designation implies a more polished version that could be considered acceptable for many mainstream users.
The disclosure came as part of a posting from Google Chrome product manager Nick Baum encouraging web developers to begin utilizing a feature called Browser Actions that allows them to place interactive icons in the main Chrome toolbar. Baum acknowledged that the functionality is currently only available on Windows and Linux versions of Chrome, but pointed to the benefits of being able to "polish" the experience ahead of the beta launch in early December, further noting that such a move would remove Mac compatibility until that time.
Why make the switch now? The earlier you switch, the more time you will have to polish your experience for our Beta launch in early December. We realize this means dropping Mac support for a couple of weeks, but we already have people working on that. If you prioritize the Windows and Linux versions, we'll bring you cross-platform parity as soon as we can!
Google currently offers three distribution channels for Chrome: Developer Preview for early-stage development, Beta for relatively stable but unpolished builds, and Stable for "rock solid" performance without the latest features still undergoing testing. The apparent move of the Mac version into Beta channel releases confirms that Google is continuing to push forward on Mac development despite having missed what appeared to have been a goal of a full launch of Chrome for Mac in the first half 2009.