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Google Updates Chrome for OS X Lion Multitouch

Search engine leader Google updated Tuesday its Chrome web browser to re-enable its multitouch swiping feature to work better under Apple’s Mac OS X Lion released last week.

Under the new Lion OS, moving among several full screen apps is done with a two finger left to right swipe. This goes against Chrome’s three-finger swipe across the Mac trackpad which moves browsing history backward and forward instead.

The tweaking resulted in the release of the Development Version 14.0.835.0 for the Mac Chrome, re-enabling the swiping result moving through browsing history to a two-finger swiping to move through different app screens or desktop screen.

Like Mozilla, Google maintains multiple versions of its Chrome browser, allowing users to choose between development, beta or mainstream versions. The dev version represents the latest but least stable updates. The dev version supports Apple’s OS X 10.7 Lion’s system default for two-finger multitouch swiping gesture. It now works on the MacBook Pro and is expected to appear in the more stable Chrome 14 mainstream version.

The change brings Chrome to mimic the two-finger swiping gesture in Apple’s Safari 5.1 browser bundled with the OS X Lion. In addition, Google made other modifications to Chrome to make it work better under Lion, as noted in Chrome’s bug monitoring database.

With Tuesday’s dev build, Chrome’s scrollbars now conform better to Apple’s standards and disappear when not in use. It also adds support for Mac’s Web Sockets communication protocol, a high-speed link standard between client browsers and Web servers. This was revealed by a Chrome development member Jason Kersey in a blog post about the updated dev version.

There are also tweaks to enhance Chrome’s support for multi-user profiles, allowing users to have different online personas when surfing the Web. Multiple profile support had been an early Chrome feature which Google withdrew for further development.

But Google has decided not to support fullscreen mode on Lion. The dev build released last Tuesday no longer has the fullscreen button which, however, works just fine under Apple’s older Leopard/Snow Leopard OS.

According to a developer on the bug database site, Google will eventually implement a “fullscreen interface for Lion” and is now experimenting on a collapsible toolbar. In the meantime, the new Chrome dev version will update automatically for existing Lion users through its background services. Or users can download it from the Google website.

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