No, not really. Stainless is a multi-process OS X browser inspired by Google Chrome. If you haven’t heard of Chrome – well, it is only the most popular, latest addition from Google to the existing line of internet browsers. Unlike other browsers like Firefox, Safari and Opera that try to surpass each other with cool new features and an endless repository of plugins, Google decided that their new browser would be a little different from the mainstream browsers.
It is revolutionary because they simplified it.
They stripped the User Interface down to its bare essentials; made it snappier, more efficient and sophisticated on the inside; then delivered it to the public. And we love it. When I say “we”, I actually mean “they”. That’s because I use a Mac and Google hasn’t quite got the OS X version of Chrome up to speed yet. However, all Mac users can rest assured that.
So as usual, Mac users will have to wait it out while everyone else on Windows enjoy their new toy. Luckily, a small group of developers came up with an imitation of Chrome, a Chrome-sque browser if you will, for OS X.
Although it is merely a technological demo, there are 3 words I can utter about Stainless. It has potential – and I’m not the only one who shares this opinion. Most of us who have taken Stainless for a ride will agree that it is quite usable, considering that it is still in its very early stages of development. I’m guessing that it is because it is inspired by Chrome, it is a fair bit more stable, quicker and simpler to use – and that appeals to most people who are stuck with the productivity-driven mindset of “Do more with less time”.
So how does Stainless compare to Chrome? I have no idea. I refuse to run Chrome on Windows or try Crossover Chromium. I want to maintain that purity of excitement and amazement when I run Chrome of OS X for the first time after Google is ready to dish it to us. For the time being, Stainless is the furthest I will ever get to Chrome.
From the screenshots, I assume that Stainless looks a bit like Chrome. It has a very simple user interface: separate address bars for each tab, forward/back/refresh buttons and a New Tab plus (+) sign. Like Chrome, it also comes with its own Process Manager and because it is a multi-process browser, that means each separate browser tab is actually an individual process (not a collective one like Safari, for instance). If a particular tab is irresponsive, you can close that tab without affecting others. This also means that performance is increased since each browser tab is processed separately.
Surfing is noticeably more responsive and quicker. The whole browser ‘feels’ lighter than Safari, definitely. There is also an option to open a Private Browsing Window where no history, cache or other information are stored. Personally, I don’t see the point of the private browsing mode for the time being – I don’t think Stainless stores browsing history just yet! It doesn’t even have a bookmark manager and it isn’t integrated with Keychain so usernames and passwords aren’t stored.
Overall, Stainless has managed to impress me, even if it is only a demo. I can’t even begin to fathom what Google Chrome on OS X is capable of.
If you want to take Stainless for a spin, you can download it here. Take note, it is for Leopard only. For those of you who have actually used Chrome, let me know how Stainless compares. I can only read your experiences since I want to keep myself a Chrome-virgin.