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Google Chrome Metro style Windows 8 browser released (hands-on)

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Google has released its first Metro style version of Chrome for Windows 8, we go hands-on to take a look at its features.

Google Chrome Windows 8
Google Chrome Windows 8

We knew Google was working on its Chrome Metro style browser, but the company has now released an early version for Windows 8 Release Preview users. Chrome's Metro mode can be activated by installing the latest dev channel release from Google and switching it to the default browser in Windows 8 Release Preview. This switch enables Chrome to run in a Metro container, but not in the typical way you'd expect a Metro style app to function.

We tried it out on a Windows 8 tablet today and the results are mixed. Google's Chrome Metro style browser isn't featured in Microsoft's Windows Store — avoiding close scrutiny from Microsoft's approval team. The app works in much the same way as its desktop counterpart, offering sync and add-ons. Chrome Metro also supports Adobe Flash content across all sites. As the app is a hybrid between desktop and Metro, typical elements of Metro style apps like the app bar or even swiping backwards and forwards are not supported yet. Swiping up from the edge of the screen or down from the top will activate a fullscreen mode for Chrome Metro — not the typical behaviour found in other Metro style apps.

Although Chrome Metro supports the three snap views found in Windows 8, the smaller view state isn't very useful for browsing as the view is somewhat limited. Chrome Metro does support Windows 8's sharing contract, allowing you to pull up the share charm and share web pages with various apps. Overall, Chrome Metro is an early look at an alternative to Internet Explorer browsing in Windows 8, but we'd prefer to see the full Metro style design guidelines used in future versions.